Purpose To establish whether early vitrectomy for epiretinal membrane (ERM) is preferable to delayed surgery. Methods We carried out a retrospective study of 120 eyes from 120 patients with pre-operative visual acuity (VA) of 6/60 or better. Pre-operative logMAR score was considered to act as an appropriate proxy measure for time of surgical procedure, with scores of 0.3 or less considered to represent early surgery, scores of 0.4 or 0.5 considered to represent medium surgery, and scores of 0.6 or more considered to represent late surgery for ERM. Patients were either pseudophakic at the time of vitrectomy or underwent combined phaco-vitrectomy for symptomatic ERM.ResultsEvaluation of parameter coefficients indicated that controlling for other factors, a delay of the surgical procedure from a state of early to medium corresponded to an increase (ie, disbenefit) of 0.074 units in post-operative logMAR score (95% confidence interval-0.001-0.15). A delay of the surgical procedure from a state of early to late corresponded to an increase (ie, disbenefit) of 0.21 units in post-operative logMAR score (95% confidence interval 0.13-0.29). Mean post-operative VA for early surgery was 0.16, out of which 36.2% of patients had a LogMAR score of 0.1 or better. This is in comparison to 17.2% in late ERM (those with a pre-operative logMAR score of 0.6 or more). Conclusion We conclude that early surgery is associated with a lower (ie, better) post-operative logMAR score. Vitrectomy for early symptomatic ERM, in carefully selected patients, is beneficial in preserving excellent vision and allows quicker visual rehabilitation.