Medical prophylaxis and treatment of cystoid macular edema after cataract surgery. The results of a meta-analysis

Ophthalmology. 1998 Mar;105(3):397-405. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(98)93018-4.


Objective: The study aimed to determine the effectiveness of prophylactic medical intervention in reducing the incidence of cystoid macular edema (CME) and the effectiveness of medical treatment for chronic CME after cataract surgery.

Design: The study design was a systematic review and meta-analysis of published reports of randomized clinical trials (RCTs).

Participants: Sixteen RCTs involving 2898 eyes examining the effectiveness of medical prophylaxis of CME and 4 RCTs involving 187 eyes testing the effectiveness of medical treatment of chronic CME were used in the study.

Interventions: Medical prophylaxis of treatment (cyclo-oxygenase inhibitors or corticosteroids) versus control (placebo or active treatment) was performed.

Main outcome measures: Incidence of angiographically diagnosed CME, incidence of clinically significant CME, and vision were measured.

Results: Thirty-six articles reported testing a prophylactic medical intervention for CME after cataract surgery. The incidence of CME varied extensively across studies and was related to the study design used. Summary odds ratios (OR) indicated that prophylactic intervention was effective in reducing the incidence of both angiographic CME (OR = 0.36; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.28-0.45) and clinically relevant CME (OR = 0.49; 95% CI = 0.33-0.73). There also was a statistically significant positive effect on improving vision (OR = 1.97; 95% CI = 1.14-3.41). A combination of the results of the four RCTs testing medical therapy for chronic CME indicated a treatment benefit in terms of improving final visual acuity by two or more Snellen lines (OR = 2.67; 95% CI = 1.35-5.30). Assessment of the quality of the 20 RCTs included in the meta-analyses indicated problems in the design, execution, and reporting of a number of trials.

Conclusion: A combination of the results from RCTs indicates that medical prophylaxis for aphakic and pseudophakic CME and medical treatment for chronic CME are beneficial. Because most of the RCTs performed to date have problems related to quality, a well-designed RCT is needed to confirm this result, using clinical CME and vision as outcomes.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aphakia, Postcataract / etiology
  • Cataract Extraction / adverse effects*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Macular Edema / drug therapy*
  • Macular Edema / etiology
  • Macular Edema / physiopathology
  • Premedication
  • Pseudophakia / etiology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Visual Acuity / physiology


  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Glucocorticoids