Cataract Surgery not tied to Macular Degeneration Progression

Researchers have found that cataract surgery is not associated with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) progression in patients with non-neovascular AMD.

Surgeons enrolled 108 patients with non-neovascular AMD who were awaiting cataract surgery. Fluorescein angiography was performed preoperatively, and again at postoperative week 1, month 3, and month 12 visits.

After 12 months, neovascular AMD developed in only 3 of 65 eyes (4.6%) that did not have neovascular AMD at the preoperative visit or the one-week postoperative visit.  This statistic is consistent with an estimated one-year progression rate in the general AMD population.

Results of this study, published in the November issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, state that the low incidence of neovascular AMD development between 1 week and 1 year after cataract surgery did not support the hypothesis that cataract surgery increases the risk of AMD progression.

Researchers also noted that  several eyes appeared to have disease progression on postsurgery week 1 fluorescein angiograms, suggesting that many cases of presumed progression to neovascular AMD following cataract surgery may have been present prior to cataract surgery, but not recognized owing to lens opacity.

Read other studies about macular degeneration.

SOURCE:  Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration After Cataract Surgery, Dong, et al, Arch Ophthalmol. 2009;127(11):1412-1419.