The effects of cataract surgery on patients with wet macular degeneration

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American journal of ophthalmology


PURPOSE: To explore whether cataract surgery contributes to the progression of wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD).

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

METHODS: Retrospective review was performed of consecutive patients with wet AMD who underwent cataract surgery at the midpoint of a 1-year study window. A control arm included wet AMD eyes treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections that did not undergo cataract surgery for a 1-year period. Best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), number of anti-VEGF injections, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) features were compared between the 2 arms.

RESULTS: Forty eyes in the surgical group and 42 in the nonsurgical group were included. BCVA was equivalent in the first half of the study, and became significantly better in the surgical group vs the nonsurgical group (0.23 ± 0.65 vs 0.11 ± 0.59 logMAR improvement, P = .049). There was no change in the number of injections given 6 months before vs after the midpoint in the surgical group (P = .921). The mean OCT central retinal thickness became greater in postsurgical eyes compared to nonsurgical eyes (265.4 ± 98.4 μm vs 216.4 ± 58.3 μm, P = .011). Surgical eyes were more likely to develop new or worse cystoid changes after the study midpoint (13 surgical eyes [54.2%] vs 9 nonsurgical eyes [28.1%], P = .048).

CONCLUSIONS: Cataract surgery leads to vision improvement and does not appear to contribute to worsening of wet AMD. However, anatomic changes based on OCT analysis suggest a subclinical susceptibility to postoperative cystoid macular edema or exacerbation of choroidal neovascularization.

Medical Subject Headings

Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Angiogenesis Inhibitors; Disease Progression; Female; Humans; Intravitreal Injections; Lens Implantation, Intraocular; Macular Edema; Male; Phacoemulsification; Postoperative Complications; Retrospective Studies; Tomography, Optical Coherence; Urban Population; Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A; Visual Acuity; Wet Macular Degeneration

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