Do Patients with AMD Benefit from Cataract Surgery?

November 6, 2009

Researchers have found that cataract surgery is likely to benefit patients with AMD at all stages of the disease. The new study was published in the November Ophthalmology.

The researchers used data from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), which was a prospective, multicenter, epidemiological study of the clinical course of cataract and AMD as well as a randomized controlled trial of antioxidants and minerals. There were 1939 eyes that underwent cataract surgery during the AREDs study. The primary outcome was the change in best-corrected visual acuity after cataract surgery compared with preoperative best-corrected visual acuity. Standardized lens and fundus photographs, performed at baseline and annual visits, were graded by a centralized reading center using standardized protocols for severity of AMD and lens opacities.

After adjustment for age at surgery, gender, type, and severity of cataract, the mean change in visual acuity in eyes without AMD gained 8.4 letters of acuity (P<0.0001) while eyes with mild AMD gained 6.1 letters of visual acuity (P<0.0001). Eyes with moderate AMD gained 3.9 letters (P<0.0001) and eyes with advanced AMD gained 1.9 letters (P = 0.04). This gain in visual acuity after cataract surgery was maintained for an average of 1.4 years after cataract surgery. There was no difference in improvement between patients with wet and dry AMD. High doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene did not affect the development or progression of cataract. However, when these vitamins were combined with zinc, there was a 25% reduction in the risk of progression to advanced AMD over the 5 years of the study.

The authors conclude that patients with AMD could benefit from cataract surgery.

Read the abstract/article here (log in required).




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