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Cataract Surgery Associated With Diabetic Eye Problem

Last Updated: August 06, 2009.

Phacoemulsification surgery for cataracts in patients with diabetes is associated with higher rates of new or progressing diabetic retinopathy in the following year, according to research published in the August issue of Ophthalmology.

THURSDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Phacoemulsification surgery for cataracts in patients with diabetes is associated with higher rates of new or progressing diabetic retinopathy in the following year, according to research published in the August issue of Ophthalmology.

Thomas Hong, of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues analyzed data from 169 patients with diabetes who underwent phacoemulsification cataract surgery and were followed for at least 12 months after the surgery. The patients' mean age was 74.1 years. Of these patients, 278 eyes had been treated with the procedure.

During follow-up, the researchers found that new diabetic retinopathy developed more than twice as often in treated eyes (adjusted odds ratio, 2.65). In 45 patients with one treated and one untreated eye at 12 months, diabetic retinopathy progression was more common in treated eyes (adjusted odds ratio, 2.21).

"The risk magnitude for diabetic retinopathy progression after phacoemulsification surgery was found to be substantially lower than the progression rates previously documented after surgery using older surgical techniques. Although these findings should not argue against performing cataract surgery in older people with diabetes, it is important for clinicians to recognize this residual risk and to take appropriate precautions (closer monitoring or preoperative laser for at-risk eyes)," the authors conclude.

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