Purpose: To determine the rate of progression of diabetic retinopathy following phacoemulsification surgery and to determine if surgeon experience and/or surgical duration adversely affect visual outcome.
Methods: A retrospective review of 150 eyes of 119 diabetic patients who underwent phacoemulsification surgery over a 5-year period was performed. Data collected included patient age, sex, type and duration of diabetes, diabetic control, associated systemic health factors, preoperative visual acuity and retinopathy grade, duration of surgery, intraoperative complications, and postoperative course. The effect of these factors on visual outcome and rate of retinopathy progression was studied. Resident and private cases were compared.
Results: The visual acuity improved by two or more lines in 117 eyes (78%). Ninety-three eyes (62%) had a final visual acuity greater than or equal to 20/40. Retinopathy progression was seen in 37 eyes (25%) followed up for 6 to 10 months. Preoperative nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, prolonged surgical duration, and limited surgical experience were statistically associated with retinopathy progression.
Conclusions: The visual results and rate of retinopathy progression after phacoemulsification surgery in our series do not appear to differ significantly from those reported using other techniques. Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, longer surgical duration, and surgical inexperience resulted in an increased rate of retinopathy progression.