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Advantages:

The aim of this study is to evaluate the choroidal thickness and the outer choroidoscleral boundary before and after vitrectomy for idiopathic epiretinal membrane in one eye and in the unaffected fellow eye and in healthy volunteers.

Methods:

A prospective, cross-sectional study will be presented. Twenty-one patients with idiopathic epiretinal membranes and twenty-one age, gender and refractive error matched controls were included in the study. Swept Source Optical Coherence Tomography images were obtained, which visualized simultaneously the vitreous, retina and choroid. Choroidal thickness measurements were performed before and one week and three months after pars plana vitrectomy with epiretinal membrane removal and internal limiting membrane peeling and compared with patients fellow eyes and with healthy subjects. In each eye, we performed 256 horizontal scans, 12mm in length and centred on the fovea. We calculated choroidal thickness manually with an inbuilt calliper from the posterior edge of retinal pigment epithelium to the choroidoscleral boundary. Particular focus was settled to the estimation of the outer choroidoscleral boundary (suprachoroidal layer and suprachoroidal space). We additionally measured it automatically using DRI-OCT mapping software. Statistical analysis was performed.

Effectiveness:

Choroidal thickness was significantly higher in eyes with idiopathic epiretinal membranes than in healthy controls (p<0.05). In 50% of fellow eyes, an epiretinal membrane was observed. Mean choroidal thickness did not differ between study and fellow eyes (p=0.67). Choroidal thickness decreased from 200 to 173┬Ám (p=0.034) three months after vitrectomy with ILM peeling. At that time point choroidal thickness was indifferent to healthy eyes. Choroidal thickness increased in eyes with idiopathic epiretinal membranes and in their fellow eyes more than in healthy controls. These values normalized after vitrectomy with internal limiting membrane peeling. It may suggest that we should reorganize our thinking about epiretinal membranes as solely a vitreoretinal interface disorder. Maybe the choroid has a contributing role of the choroid in the pathogenesis of idiopathic epiretinal membrane.