Purpose: To characterize macular edema that occurs after uneventful cataract surgery.
Setting: Centre of Ophthalmology, University Hospital, Institute of Biomedical Research on Light and Image, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.
Methods: Thirty-two eyes of 32 patients had uneventful phacoemulsification with implantation of a foldable intraocular lens. Postoperatively, patients were examined at 3, 6, 12, and 30 weeks. The examinations included retinal leakage analysis (Zeiss CSLO), optical coherence tomography (Humphrey Instruments), and retinal thickness analysis (Talia Technology, Ltd.). Results were compared with those in a control group comprising healthy subjects.
Results: Increases in retinal thickness (ie, over the mean +/- 2 SD in the control group) reached a maximum at 6 weeks in 13 of 32 eyes (41%), after which recovery was progressive. At 30 weeks, all eyes had good visual acuity, but 7 eyes (22%) still had macular edema. The edema was located primarily in the central macular region. Leaking sites involving the vascular areas of the macula, which indicated areas of abnormal blood-retinal barrier permeability, were a frequent finding. The number of sites remained relatively stable during the first 12 weeks (88%) and decreased to 68% at 30 weeks, indicating a trend toward recovery.
Conclusion: Macular edema after cataract surgery occurred primarily in the central region of the macula and was associated with the presence of leaking sites, which were located predominantly in the vascular regions of the central macula.