Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and macular edema progression after phacoemulsification: prospective study

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2006 Sep;32(9):1438-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2006.03.039.


Purpose: To determine the incidence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) progression after phacoemulsification in patients with type II diabetes.

Setting: Service of Ophthalmology, University of Sant Joan, Barcelona, Spain.

Methods: This prospective study evaluated 132 patients with diabetes mellitus who had monocular phacoemulsification. A control group comprised the patients' contralateral eyes. Data analysis included preoperative retinal findings and DR status; hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides levels; insulin treatment; and arterial hypertension.

Results: Postoperative visual acuity increased by 2 or more lines in 105 patients (79.55%); the mean postoperative acuity was 0.63 +/- 0.28 (SD). Diabetic retinopathy in the operated eye progressed in 31 patients (23.48%) and in the fellow eye in 28 patients (21.21%). The progression was associated with high levels of HbA1c and diabetes mellitus duration in both groups. Diabetic macular edema occurred in the operated eye in 8 patients (6.06%) and in the fellow eye in 6 patients (4.54%). Pseudophakic macular edema developed in 2 eyes (1.52%). The progression of diabetic macular edema was not associated with the risk factors studied.

Conclusion: Uneventful phacoemulsification cataract surgery may not cause DR progression.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / etiology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Incidence
  • Macular Edema / etiology*
  • Macular Edema / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phacoemulsification / adverse effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Visual Acuity


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Triglycerides