Longer cataract surgeries were linked to postoperative YAG capsulotomies.
Longer cataract surgeries were linked to postoperative YAG capsulotomies in this study. Photo: Joseph W. Sowka, OD. Click image to enlarge.

A retrospective cohort study recently determined the relationship between procedure duration and postoperative outcomes among patients undergoing uncomplicated cataract surgery. The researchers analyzed eyes that had uncomplicated and non-complex cataract extraction with phacoemulsification.

The study authors defined surgery duration as “long” when it was greater than one standard deviation above the mean surgery time for a given surgeon. They collected postoperative variables and compared outcomes between the long surgery and non-long surgery groups using univariate and multivariate analysis.

A total of 5,839 eyes were included. Of those, 768 (13.2%) were classified as long surgeries. There was no association between prolonged postoperative inflammation and long surgeries, according to findings from the multivariate analysis. There was also no significant correlation between long surgeries and macular edema, retina tear or early IOP elevation.

However, the study authors did report a link between long surgeries and an increased need for YAG capsulotomy. The researchers also found that postoperative day one visual acuity as well as best-corrected visual acuity at postoperative months one through three was worse among patients in the long surgery group.

“Given the findings of this study, it may be beneficial for patients who have undergone a long cataract surgery to be counseled on a somewhat slower visual recovery and counseled on the likelihood of posterior capsular opacification,” the study authors concluded. “However, overall outcomes of non-complex, non-complicated surgeries more than one standard deviation above the mean surgery length can be expected to be largely similar to surgeries of shorter length.”

Kalhorn A, Patnaik JL, Ifantides C, et al. Association between increased cataract surgery duration and postoperative outcomes. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. April 18, 2022. [Epub ahead of print].