After cataract extraction with implantation of an intraocular lens the increased transmission of ultraviolet and blue light may accelerate the development of age-related macular degeneration by producing free radicals in the retina. The maculae of 82 randomly selected postmortem human pseudophakic eyes and 16 fellow phakic eyes were examined by light microscopy. The presence of a basal laminar deposit, hard and soft drusen, thickening and calcification of Bruch's membrane, geographic atrophy, subretinal neovascularisation, and disciform scars was assessed in a standardised way. An age-matched series of 126 postmortem phakic eyes was used as control group. There was no difference between the two groups, except for a higher prevalence of hard drusen (exact trend test, p = 0.038) and disciform scars for the pseudophakic eyes (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.007). There was no significant correlation between either age-related changes in the macula or disciform degeneration and the length of time between cataract surgery and death. No significant difference was found between pseudophakic eyes with or without ultraviolet filter. These findings do not confirm that disciform scar formation is caused by an increase in ultraviolet or blue light.
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