Purpose: To evaluate the outcomes in patients with diabetic retinopathy and cataract who had panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) first and cataract surgery second in 1 eye and cataract surgery followed by PRP in the fellow eye.
Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, Saiseikai Kurihashi Hospital, Saitama, Japan.
Methods: Fifty-eight eyes of 29 patients with similar bilateral cataracts and severe nonproliferative or early proliferative diabetic retinopathy were randomly assigned for treatment with cataract surgery performed after PRP (PRP-first group) or before PRP (surgery-first group). Treatment was performed in the opposite order in the contralateral eye. The main outcome measure was best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) 12 months after surgery. The secondary outcome measures were the laser parameters, progression of retinopathy and macular edema, and aqueous flare intensity.
Results: The percentage of eyes with a BCVA of 20/40 or better was statistically significantly higher in the surgery-first group (96.6%) than in the PRP-first group (69.0%) (P = .012). The rate of the progression of macular edema was significantly decreased in the surgery-first group (P = .033). There was no significant difference between the 2 groups in the other outcome measures.
Conclusion: Although the order in which PRP and cataract surgery were performed had no effect on postoperative retinopathy, the BCVA was better and the rate of the progression of macular edema was decreased in the surgery-first group.