AMD not made worse by cataract surgery, according to study

March 3, 2009

According to new research, cataract surgery does not hasten vision loss in people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Washington, DC-According to new research, cataract surgery does not hasten vision loss in people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The conclusion of this study challenges the findings of several large epidemiologic studies that suggested a link between cataract surgery and more rapid AMD progress.

Emily Y. Chew, MD, deputy director, Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Research, National Eye Institute, and colleagues analyzed data from 4,577 participants (8,050 eyes), aged 55 to 81 years, who participated in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). Researchers compared the risk of advanced AMD in people who had cataract surgery with those who did not have the surgery.

Little evidence was found by Dr. Chew and her team that cataract surgery influences AMD progression.

Dr. Chew said the conflicting conclusions of this study and previous population-based research is due to the fact that earlier studies may have had unintended biases or confounding variables. Chew also noted that cataract surgery and lens replacement techniques have advanced, and the AREDS participants’ procedures were performed more recently than people included in earlier studies.

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