Risk of age-related macular degeneration 3 years after cataract surgery: Paired eye comparisons

Jie Jin Wang, Calvin Sze Un Fong, Elena Rochtchina, Sudha Cugati, Tania De Loryn, Shweta Kaushik, Jennifer S.L. Tan, Jennifer Arnold, Wayne Smith, Paul Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To clarify possible associations between cataract surgery and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Design: Clinic-based cohort. Participants: We followed cataract surgical patients aged 65+ years in the Australian Cataract Surgery and Age-related Macular Degeneration (CSAMD) study. Patients who remained unilaterally phakic for at least 24 months after recruitment were included. Methods: We performed annual examinations with retinal photography. We assessed AMD using side-by-side grading of images from all visits. Paired comparisons between operated and nonoperated fellow eyes (defined as nonoperated or operated <12 months previously) were made using generalized estimating equation models. Main Outcome Measures: Incident early AMD was defined as the new appearance of soft indistinct/reticular drusen or coexisting retinal pigmentary abnormality and soft distinct drusen in eyes at risk of early AMD. Incident late AMD was defined as the new appearance of neovascular AMD or geographic atrophy (GA) in eyes at risk of late AMD. Results: Among 2029 recruited, eligible participants, 1851 had cataract surgery performed at Westmead Hospital, Sydney, and 1244 (70.7%) had 36-month postoperative visits. Of these participants, 1178 had gradable photographs at baseline and at least 1 follow-up visit. Of 308 unilaterally operated participants at risk of late AMD, this developed in 4 (1.3%) operated and 7 (2.3%) nonoperated fellow eyes (odds ratio [OR], 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.23-2.36) after adjusting for the presence of early AMD at baseline. Of 217 unilaterally operated participants at risk of early AMD, this developed in 23 (10.6%) operated and 21 (9.7%) nonoperated fellow eyes (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.74-1.65). Incident retinal pigment abnormalities were more frequent in operated than nonoperated fellow eyes (15.3% vs. 9.9%; OR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.07-2.52). There was no difference in the 3-year incidence of large soft indistinct or reticular drusen between the 2 eyes (8.8% vs. 7.9%; OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.79-1.60). Conclusions: Prospective follow-up data and paired eye comparisons of this older surgical cohort showed no increased risk of developing late AMD, early AMD, or soft/reticular drusen over 3 years. There was a 60% increased detection of retinal pigmentary changes in surgical eyes. Financial Disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2298-2303
Number of pages6
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


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