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Is cataract surgery justified in patients with age related macular degeneration? A visual function and quality of life assessment
  1. A M Armbrechta,
  2. C Findlaya,
  3. S Kaushalb,
  4. P Aspinalla,
  5. A R Hillb,
  6. B Dhillona
  1. aPrincess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH3 9HA, UK, bThe Oxford Eye Hospital, Oxford, UK
  1. Dr B Dhillonbal.dhillon{at}


AIMS To determine whether patients with age related macular degeneration (ARMD) benefit from cataract surgery in terms of visual function and quality of life measures, and to assess the impact of surgery on the progression of ARMD.

METHODS A prospective study was carried out of patients with and without ARMD undergoing cataract surgery. Data were collected from 187 patients at the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, Edinburgh and the Oxford Eye Hospital, Oxford. The patients were divided into three groups: (1) a control group with ARMD and no surgery (n=41), (2) a study group of patients with ARMD who underwent cataract surgery (n=90), and (3) a second control group of patients without ocular comorbidities who underwent cataract surgery (n=56). Visual function and quality of life assessments were carried out at baseline and 3–5 months after baseline or surgery.

RESULTS There were significant improvements both in terms of quality of life and visual function measures in the study group. Benefits were greater in patients with moderate cataract irrespective of the degree of ARMD. No increased incidence in progression to the “wet” form of ARMD was found. Improvements in quality of life measures and visual function were more pronounced in patients with no ocular comorbidities.

CONCLUSIONS Patients with mild and moderate degrees of ARMD do benefit from cataract surgery and the benefits are greater in patients with moderate degrees of lens opacity. Longer follow up is required to assess the risk of increased ARMD progression.

  • age related macular degeneration
  • cataract surgery
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