Purpose: To evaluate the necessity and safety of primary posterior capsulotomy during phaco-vitrectomy for idiopathic epiretinal membrane (ERM). Setting: Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea. Design: Retrospective consecutive cohort analysis. Methods: This study enrolled 219 patients (228 eyes) who underwent combined 25-gauge phaco-vitrectomy for idiopathic ERM and cataract, divided into capsulotomy (−) group (152 eyes, 144 patients) and capsulotomy (+) group (76 eyes, 75 patients). The main outcomes were rate of posterior capsular opacity (PCO) occurrence and postoperative complications. Ophthalmic examinations were performed at baseline, 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Results: PCO only occurred in capsulotomy (−) group (20 eyes, 13.2%), with mean onset of 10.59 months. Visually-significant PCO that needed Nd:YAG posterior capsulotomy was present in 9 eyes (45.0% of PCO eyes). The rate of cystoid macular edema (CME) was higher in capsulotomy (+) group (6.6% vs. 15.8%, p = 0.026) with longer duration (1.50 vs. 3.36 months, p = 0.019). Female sex and posterior capsulotomy were significant risk factors for CME occurrence (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Primary posterior capsulotomy during phaco-vitrectomy for idiopathic ERM obviated the need for Nd:YAG posterior capsulotomy, but visually-significant PCO that needed Nd:YAG laser was not common. Considering the low rate of visually-significant PCO and high rate of postoperative CME, routine posterior capsulotomy during phaco-vitrectomy may not be necessary for preventing PCO in ERM.
- Idiopathic epiretinal membrane
- Posterior capsular opacity
- Posterior capsulotomy