The Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study: 8. Risk of cataract formation after trabeculectomy

Arch Ophthalmol. 2001 Dec;119(12):1771-9. doi: 10.1001/archopht.119.12.1771.


Objectives: To compare the risk of cataract formation in eyes with and without prior trabeculectomy and to assess other risk factors for cataract.

Methods: The Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study (AGIS) has been following 789 eyes in 591 patients with medically uncontrolled open-angle glaucoma. From 1988 to 1992, these eyes were randomly assigned to either an argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT)-trabeculectomy-trabeculectomy treatment sequence or a trabeculectomy-ALT-trabeculectomy sequence. Cox regression analyses were used to assess risk factors for cataract formation during 7 to 11 years of follow-up.

Main outcome measures: Cataract, defined as either having had cataract surgery or confirmed severe lens opacity with a best-corrected Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study visual acuity score less than 65 letters (worse than 20/50).

Results: Data are presented on the expected 5-year cumulative probability of cataract formation in each randomized sequence by age and presence of diabetes at study entry. Overall, approximately half of the eyes studied developed cataract. A first trabeculectomy, whether as the first or second AGIS intervention, increased the overall risk of cataract by 78% (risk ratio [RR] = 1.78; P<.001). Diabetes (RR = 1.47; P =.004) and age at study entry (RR = 1.07 per year of age; P<.001) were also risk factors for cataract. When postoperative complications of trabeculectomy were included in the analysis, the increased risk of cataract for eyes with a first trabeculectomy reduced to 47% when complications did not occur (RR = 1.47; P =.003) and increased to 104% when complications did occur (RR = 2.04; P<.001). Several specific postoperative complications of trabeculectomy were associated with increased risk of cataract, particularly marked inflammation (RR = 3.29; P<.001) and flat anterior chamber (RR = 1.80; P =.004). Trabeculectomy with complications was also significantly associated with an increased risk of cataract in each of 3 lens regions: nuclear, cortical, and posterior subcapsular.

Conclusions: In eyes of AGIS patients, after adjustment for age and diabetes, trabeculectomy increased the risk of cataract formation by 78%.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Probability
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Trabeculectomy / adverse effects*
  • Visual Acuity