PURPOSE: To determine the prevalence of epiretinal membranes (ERMs) in Melbourne, Australia and its risk factors in this population. METHODS: The Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study is a prospective study investigating the role of diet and life style in the causation of common chronic diseases. Eighty-six percent of participants were of Northern European origin born in Australia or United Kingdom and 14 were migrants from Greece or Italy (Southern European origin). Nonmydriatic digital retinal photography was implemented at Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study follow-up. The ERMs were recorded as cellophane macular reflex without retinal folds or preretinal macular fibrosis (PMF) with retinal folds. RESULTS: A total of 22,406 participants had retinal photography, 95 (n = 21,241) were eligible for ERM grading. The ERM prevalence were 8.9 (1,882); cellophane macular reflex, 4.9 (1,047); and preretinal macular fibrosis, 3.9 (835). After adjustment for age, sex, level of education, smoking status, level of cholesterol, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, waist measurement, blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke, increasing age and Southern European ethnicity was significantly associated with ERMs. Overall, in Southern Europeans, ERMs odd ratio was 1.97 (95 confidence intervals, 1.67-2.31), P <0.001; preretinal macular fibrosis was 1.82 (95 confidence intervals, 1.43-2.31), P <0.001; and cellophane macular reflex was 1.93 (1.57-2.38), P <0.001. CONCLUSION: In an older Australian population, the prevalence of ERMs was 8.9 and was almost two times higher in participants of Southern European origin than Northern European origin.