Cataract Surgery's Impact on Age-Related Macular Degeneration Remains Blurry

JUNE 27, 2016
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
ophthalmology, wet age-related macular degeneration, AMD, eye care, surgery, cataract surgery, eye surgeryPhysicians have speculated about the connection between cataract surgery and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Some findings on this topic indicated that the surgery leads to AMD's progression; however, cold hard facts are absent.

Cataract surgery techniques have gotten better and better over the years. Many patients experience improved visual acuity after the procedure. However, replacing the cloudy lens inside the eye with an artificial one may impact someone with AMD or diabetic retinopathy. Lines on potential results of cataract surgery get even blurrier when considering patients with early and late stage disease as well as whether they have  wet or dry AMD.

But the one thing known for sure is that data on cataract surgery and AMD is inconsistent.

Researchers from South Korea looked at an Asian population, who especially lack data on the matter. The cohort consisted of 17,987 people ages 40 and over and genders were split nearly in half. “The association between cataract surgery and AMD was assessed in each right and left eye using logistic regression models in both eyes using generalized estimating equation models,” the authors explained in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Results were analyzed from February to August 2015. Each participant had data on at least one eye, which brought the total to 34,863 eyes (17,616 right eyes and 17,247 left eyes).

A total of 1,264 right eyes (5.5%) and 1,235 left eyes (5.4%) had undergone cataract surgery.

Of the 1,056 right eyes that had early or late AMD, 167 of them (15.2%) had cataract surgery. Of the 949 left eyes that had early or late AMD, 147 of them (13.7%) had the surgery.

“The analyses did not show any association between cataract surgery and any form of AMD (early, late, and all) except in left eyes, where cataract surgery was associated with late AMD (odds ratio, 2.34),” the team described.

Although there was an association found in left eyes, the researchers concluded that the connection between cataract surgery and AMD is still uncertain.

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