This patient presented for surgery at the age of 32 years, 14 months after his initial complaint of metamorphopsia and visual loss in the right eye. Past tests demonstrated a whitish epiretinal membrane (ERM) with translucent stress lines over a thickened macula. Visual acuity was found on last presentation to be normal with minimal alteration on A.sler grid testing. A.torn ERM was found in the center with left-over ERM temporally and rolled-over ERM nasally at the site of the epicenter with no posterior vitreous detachment. Visual recovery occurred gradually over several days 2 months prior to presentation apparently following heavy weight-lifting with a sensation of severe eye pressure. Sequential funduscopy and optical coherence tomography scans demonstrated the peeling of an ERM accompanied by normalization of foveal thickness. Valsalva maneuver had put excessive tension on ERM which tore in its center at the weakest line with gradual contraction of the ERM away from the fovea towards the peripapillary area. This is a new mechanism of self-separation of ERM induced by Valsalva. ERM in young subjects is subject to rupture and subsequent separation by tangential traction. There are three mechanisms for spontaneous separation of ERM: 1) posterior vitreous detachment with pulling of ERM by detaching vitreous (most common in adults); 2) the contracting forces of the immature ERM become stronger than its adhesions to the retina resulting in slow tangential traction on the edges of the ERM and gradual separation from the edges towards the center (remodeling common in youngsters); and 3) acute tearing of ERM at its weakest central point and retraction of part of the membrane towards the epicenter (current case report).
- Posterior vitreous detachment
- Valsalva maneuver
ASJC Scopus subject areas