News You Can Use: April 2009
The National Eye Institute of the United States recently released results of a retrospective study assessing the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) developing after cataract surgery.
Using the data gathered from 4,577 participants (8050 eyes) in the multicenter, controlled, randomized clinical trial, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), researchers concluded that there was no clear effect of cataract surgery on the risk of progression to advanced AMD. Development of advanced AMD, either neovascular AMD or geographic atrophy, was evaluated with annual fundus photographs, and history of cataract surgery was assessed every 6 months.
Previous studies did not look at the retina before cataract surgery, as this new study did. This is the only prospective study in which the severity of AMD was documented before and after cataract surgery in a large number of cases with more than 5 years of regular follow-up.
“To explain why this study differs from previous reports, I would say that it’s possible that in previous studies, patients already had AMD when they first came in to their specialist with vision problems. The presence of the cataract may have made it difficult to see the macula, and diagnose the AMD", says Alan Cruess, MD, Chief of Ophthalmology, Dalhousie University and Chairman, AMDAI Science Panel.
These data, which are contrary to previously reported results, may provide some reassurance to patients with AMD who are considering cataract surgery”, says Dr. Emily Chew, Deputy Director, NEI Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications.
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