Macular edema after uncomplicated cataract surgery: a role for phacoemulsification energy and vitreoretinal interface status?

Eur J Ophthalmol. 2015 May-Jun;25(3):192-7. doi: 10.5301/ejo.5000536. Epub 2014 Nov 27.


Purpose: To study postoperative macular thickness fluctuations measured by spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and to investigate a potential correlation among macular edema (ME) incidence, cumulative dissipated energy (CDE) released during phacoemulsification, and vitreoretinal interface status.

Methods: This is a prospective, cross-sectional study of 106 cataract patients with no macular disorder who underwent phacoemulsification. Best-corrected visual acuity measurement, slit-lamp examination, OCT scans were performed preoperatively and 30 and 90 days postoperatively. The intraoperative parameters measured were CDE and total phacoemulsification time. The SD-OCT parameters assessed were central subfield thickness (CST), cube average thickness (CAT), cube macular volume, vitreoretinal interface status, and presence of cystoid or diffuse ME.

Results: Four patients (3.8%) developed subclinical ME. Regarding ME, there was no significant difference between patients with presence or absence of posterior vitreous detachment (chi-square, p = 0.57), although 75% of ME cases were observed in patients with attached posterior vitreous. With regard to comparison between eyes with and without subclinical CME incidence, CDE (p = 0.05), phacoemulsification time (p = 0.001), CST at month 1 (p = 0.002), cube macular volume at month 1 (p = 0.039), and CAT at month 1 (p = 0.050) were significantly higher in the subclinical CME group.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence that OCT macular thickness parameters increase significantly at first and third month postoperatively and that the incidence of pseudophakic ME can be affected by CDE.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Macular Edema / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phacoemulsification / adverse effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods
  • Visual Acuity