To describe the incidence and clinical characteristics of epiretinal membranes (ERMs) in children.
The medical records of all pediatric (aged < 19 years) patients diagnosed as having an ERM from January 1, 1976, through December 31, 2005, at Olmsted Medical Group and Mayo Clinic were retrospectively reviewed.
Five of the 44 patients were residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, at the time of their diagnosis, yielding an annual age- and sex-adjusted incidence of 0.54 per 100 000 patients, or 1 in 20 896 patients younger than 19 years. The mean age at diagnosis of the study patients was 12.4 years (range, 4 months to 18 years), with a preponderance of boys (31 [70%]). The presenting visual acuity in the affected eye was 20/60 or less in 22 patients (50%), and 10 patients (23%) displayed strabismus. Common causes of ERMs were trauma (17 patients [39%]), idiopathic conditions (13 patients [30%]), and uveitis (9 patients [20%]). Of the 44 patients, 8 (18%) underwent pars plana vitrectomy with membrane peel, with at least 5 of the 8 experiencing an improvement in their postoperative visual acuity.
Epiretinal membranes are rare in children and are most frequently associated with a traumatic, idiopathic, or uveitic cause. Patients treated surgically generally have a favorable outcome.