The Royal College of Ophthalmologists' National Ophthalmology Database Study of cataract surgery. Report 5: Clinical outcome and risk factors for posterior capsule rupture and visual acuity loss following cataract surgery in patients aged 90 years and older

Eye (Lond). 2019 Jul;33(7):1161-1170. doi: 10.1038/s41433-019-0389-z. Epub 2019 Mar 11.


Background: Older age is commonly associated with an increased risk of surgical complications and comparatively poor outcomes.

Purpose: To report cataract surgery outcomes and risk indicators for patients aged 90 years and older.

Methods: Data collected as part of routine cataract care in 34 centres contributing to the United Kingdom Royal College of Ophthalmologists' National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) were analysed. Very elderly people undergoing cataract surgery were profiled in terms of demographics, pre- and postoperative best-measured visual acuity (VA), ocular co-morbidities, intraoperative posterior capsule rupture (PCR) or vitreous loss or both, and risk indicators for operative PCR and adverse VA outcome.

Results: 25,856 cataract operations in 19,166 people of 90 years or older between 2000 and 2014 are reported. Preoperative VA was available for 82.4% eyes, being 0.30 LogMAR or better in 21.5%. Postoperative VA was available for 61.8% eyes, being 0.30 LogMAR or better in 74.4%. For those without ocular co-morbidity, postoperative VA was 0.30 LogMAR or better in 84.7%. Various co-morbidities were present in 49% and contributed to an adverse VA outcome. PCR data were available for all operations and occurred in 2.7%. Significant risk indicators for PCR included pseudoexfoliation/phakodonesis, mature cataract, smaller pupil and worse preoperative VA.

Conclusions: Slightly poorer cataract surgery outcome results were noted in patients of 90 years or older, more so in patients with ocular co-morbidity which was highly prevalent. However, surgeons should not be deterred from offering cataract surgery to the very elderly as successful visual rehabilitation remains achievable.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract Extraction / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications*
  • Male
  • Ophthalmology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Posterior Capsular Rupture, Ocular / epidemiology*
  • Posterior Capsular Rupture, Ocular / etiology
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Societies, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Visual Acuity*