Cataract surgery does not increase a patient’s risk for AMD progression, according to a study in the November issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. This finding conflicts with findings from several previous observational studies and case reports, which had suggested a causal link between cataract surgery and AMD progression.

In this study, the authors examined 86 eyes with dry macular degeneration that underwent cataract surgery within a three-month duration. Following surgery, the authors evaluated each eye through clinical examination, fundus photography and fluorescein angiography at one week, one month and one year.

At one-year follow-up, 65 eyes were included in the final analysis. Of these, only three had advanced to neovascular AMD, yielding just a 4.6% rate of postoperative progression.

The authors concluded that cataract surgery does not accelerate the progression of AMD. Additionally, they noted that while “several eyes appeared to have disease progression on post-surgery week one fluorescein angiograms … many cases of presumed progression to neovascular AMD following cataract surgery may have been present prior to cataract surgery, but not recognized owing to lens opacity.”


Dong LM, Stark WJ, Jefferys JL, et al. Progression of age-related macular degeneration after cataract surgery. Arch Ophthalmol. 2009 Nov;127(11):1528-9.