Incorporating Optical Coherence Tomography in the Cataract Preoperative Armamentarium: Additional Need or Additional Burden?

Am J Ophthalmol. 2019 Feb:198:209-214. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2018.10.025. Epub 2018 Oct 31.


Purpose: To determine the usefulness of preoperative optical coherence tomography (OCT) examination to detect asymptomatic macular abnormalities in patients scheduled for cataract surgery.

Methods: Design: Prospective, interventional case series.

Setting: Iladevi Cataract and Visakha Eye Center, Ahmedabad, India.

Study population: Patients undergoing cataract surgery and intraocular lens (IOL) implantation for senile cataracts. Preoperatively no retinal/macular pathology was identified on clinical evaluation.

Intervention: All eyes underwent macular 5-line raster evaluation using spectral-domain OCT before and after cataract surgery (monthly for 3 months). Central subfield thickness (CST) analysis was done.

Outcome measures: The primary outcome measure was determining the incidence of asymptomatic retinal lesions on OCT examination in clinically "normal" maculas. Secondary outcome measures included documenting change in corrected distance visual acuity and OCT thickness postoperatively.

Results: A total of 1444 eyes were evaluated. OCT revealed asymptomatic lesions in 133 (9.21%) patients. At 3 months, all eyes showed significant median visual improvement (from 0.45 ± 0.13 logMAR to 0.06 ± 0.08 logMAR; P = .015) and insignificant median CST change (from 223.34 ± 21.1 μm to 249.12 ± 19.24 μm; P = .19). One eye showed increased vitreomacular traction (3 months). Patients with asymptomatic lesions did not have significantly worse postoperative visual outcomes at 3 months (from 0.52 ± 0.16 logMAR to 0.14 ± 0.1 logMAR; P = .12).

Conclusion: A total of 9.21% patients with clinically normal maculas had subtle pathology detected on OCT, but this subset of patients did not have worse postoperative visual outcomes compared to eyes with normal OCT scans. Thus, a careful pre-cataract surgery fundus examination remains an essential part of the presurgical patient evaluation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract / complications
  • Cataract Extraction*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*
  • Visual Acuity