Cataract Surgery and Macular Degeneration

Cataract surgery has been shown to pose no risk in the progression of macular degeneration.  These results were obtained from a large randomized trial, the results of which showed that cataract surgery does not increase the risk of progressive age-related macular degeneration.

Reported in the online journal, Ophthalmology, the results of the research conducted by Emily Y. CHew, M.D. of the National Eye Institute revealed that the frequency of neovascular macular degeneration, geographic atrophy and central geographic antropy did not differ between patients who had cataract surgery and those who did not have cataract surgery.  The authors of the study said “These data, which are contrary to that of previously reported results, may provide some reassurance to patients with age-related macular degeneration who are considering cataract surgery.”

As part of the study, Dr. Chew and colleagues examined the data from the Age-related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) that followed 4,577 patients.

The authors found that 1,167 patients had cataract surgery during the course of the 11-year study.  Examining the data showed that there was no significant difference in the progression of the macular degeneration in those patient who had surgery than those who did not.

This is significant because patients who had been diagnosed with macular degeneration had previously had to contemplate whether or not to have cataract surgery to protect their vision, weighing the risk of progression of their macular degeneration.