The course of diabetic retinopathy following cataract extraction was studied retrospectively in 89 patients (89 eyes). Cataract extraction was extracapsular in 12 eyes (13.5%), extracapsular with intraocular lens implantation in 37 (41.6%), and intracapsular in 40 (45%). In 55 eyes (61.8%) there was no change in the retinal status after surgery, and in 34 (38.2%) there was progression of diabetic retinopathy. In the eyes showing progression there was appearance or aggravation of non-proliferative changes in 85.3% and development of proliferative diabetic retinopathy in 14.7%. Most of these eyes (91%) deteriorated within six months of surgery. Risk factors for the progression of diabetic retinopathy were the preoperative existence of diabetic retinopathy (p less than 0.005) and the need for antidiabetic agents in addition to dietary control in the management of diabetes (p less than 0.025).
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