Purpose: The authors evaluated factors that might influence the outcome of extracapsular cataract extraction with placement of a posterior chamber lens in patients with diabetic retinopathy. The factors included patient age and sex, severity of the retinopathy, preoperative laser photocoagulation, vitrectomy, and posterior capsulotomy.
Methods: The records of 109 patients who had been examined by the authors before cataract surgery were retrospectively reviewed.
Results: The final visual acuity in only 48% of the eyes was 20/40 or better, and 28% had 20/200 or worse visual acuity. Only 65% had an improvement in visual acuity of two or more Snellen lines. Eyes with preoperative macular edema had a poorer visual outcome than eyes without. Macular edema and ischemia accounted for 70% of the eyes with a final visual acuity of 20/50 or worse. The authors found that age was a strong predictor of final visual acuity and chances of improvement. In patients 63 years of age and younger, 58% had 20/40 or better and 81% had improved visual acuity. In patients 64 years of age and older, only 38% had 20/40 or better and only 54% were improved. Supplementary panretinal photocoagulation was required in 37% of patients who had received it preoperatively. Neovascularization of the iris developed in 6% of patients. Posterior capsulotomy did not cause an increased incidence of neovascularization of the iris or in the development or progression of proliferative retinopathy or macular edema.
Conclusion: The prognosis of patients with diabetic retinopathy about to undergo cataract surgery, even extracapsular cataract extraction with placement of a posterior chamber lens, is guarded.