Purpose: A recent study indicated that patients with cataracts and early age-related maculopathy may benefit from cataract extraction. To ascertain whether cataract extraction in the presence of concurrent advanced age-related maculopathy was also associated with a clear benefit, we studied visual function and self-reported visual functioning in a cohort of 12 patients pre- and post-phakoemulsification. METHODS. All 12 patients had a diagnosis of advanced age-related maculopathy in the eye scheduled for cataract surgery. Preoperative assessment included refraction and recording of best corrected distance and near acuity and contrast sensitivity in both eyes. The Daily Living Tasks Dependent on Vision questionnaire was administered. After phakoemulsification and intraocular lens implantation, all patients were reviewed and assessed.
Results: After surgery, improvement in acuity was recorded in nine operated eyes, whereas acuity remained unchanged in three eyes. Improvement in contrast sensitivity in the operated eye occurred in 10 patients, but in two patients contrast was reduced postoperatively. In terms of self-reported visual functioning, improvement in the ability to undertake many daily living tasks dependent on vision was recorded after cataract surgery.
Conclusions: Significant improvements in specific areas of self-reported visual functioning and measures of vision were recorded after cataract surgery. During the follow-up period, none of the operated eyes suffered a fall in visual acuity. There was also no evidence of worsening of the pre-existing macular lesion as judged by clinical examination and fundus photography.