Prevalence and predictors of ocular complications associated with cataract surgery in United States veterans

Ophthalmology. 2011 Mar;118(3):507-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2010.07.023. Epub 2010 Oct 29.


Purpose: To investigate the prevalence and predictors of intraoperative and 90-day postoperative ocular complications associated with cataract surgery performed in the United States Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Participants: Forty-five thousand eighty-two veterans who underwent cataract surgery in the VHA.

Methods: The National Patient Care Database was used to identify all VHA patients who underwent outpatient extracapsular cataract surgery and who underwent only 1 cataract surgery within 90 days of the index surgery between October 1, 2005, and September 30, 2007. Data collected include demographics, preoperative systemic and ocular comorbidities, intraoperative complications, and 90-day postoperative complications. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of factors predictive of complications were calculated using logistic regression modeling.

Main outcome measures: Intraoperative and postoperative ocular complications within 90 days of cataract surgery.

Results: During the study period, 53786 veterans underwent cataract surgery; 45082 met inclusion criteria. Common preoperative systemic and ocular comorbidities included diabetes mellitus (40.6%), chronic pulmonary disease (21.2%), age-related macular degeneration (14.4%), and diabetes with ophthalmic manifestations (14.0%). The most common ocular complications were posterior capsular tear, anterior vitrectomy, or both during surgery (3.5%) and posterior capsular opacification after surgery (4.2%). Predictors of complications included: black race (OR, 1.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28-1.50), divorced status (OR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.03-1.18), never married (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.14-1.38), diabetes with ophthalmic manifestations (OR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.23-1.43), traumatic cataract (OR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.40-2.31), previous ocular surgery (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.02-1.63), and older age.

Conclusions: In a cohort of United States veterans with a high preoperative disease burden, selected demographic factors and ocular comorbidities were associated with greater risks of cataract surgery complications. Further large-scale studies are warranted to investigate cataract surgery outcomes for non-VHA United States patient populations.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract Extraction / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*