Characterization of epiretinal membranes using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

J. R. Wilkins, M. R. Hee, C. A. Puliafito, J. S. Duker, E. Reichel, J. G. Coker, J. S. Schuman, E. A. Swanson, J. G. Fujimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. To evaluate Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), as a novel optical imaging technique for the diagnosis and monitoring of epiretinal membranes. Methods. OCT, analogous to ultrasound B mode imaging, produces cross-sectional images of the retina with 10 μm longitudinal resolution. OCT was used to examine 116 eyes of 94 patients with an epiretinal membrane. OCT tomograms were correlated with visual acuity, slit-lamp biomicroscopy, and fluorescein angiography. Results. OCT was able to detect an epiretinal membrane in 75 (64%) of the 116 eyes examined. Forty-two (56%) of these 75 eyes displayed membranes which were partially separated from the retina on OCT. Thirty-three (44%) of the 75 eyes exhibited tightly adherent membranes which were higher in reflectivity than the underlying retina on OCT. Using a computer algorithm, measurements of central macular thickness were obtained in all 116 eyes and were found to correlate with visual acuity (R2 = 0.83). Epiretinal membrane thickness was also determined in the 75 eyes examined with visible membranes. Seventy-two (96%) of the membranes ranged from 50-80 μm in thickness while three (4%) ranged from 160-440 μm. Conclusions. OCT appears useful as a diagnostic tool for the visualization and quantitative assessment of nonadherent and/or highly reflective epiretinal membranes. Macular thickening appears to be the primary cause of decreased visual acuity in patients diagnosed with an epiretinal membrane. The tomographic information available from OCT may be useful in characterizing the surgical prognosis of eyes with an epiretinal membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S956
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 15 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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