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Prevalence of cataract surgery and post-surgical visual outcomes in an urban Asian population: the Singapore Malay Eye Study


Aim: The aim of the study was to describe the prevalence and visual outcomes of cataract surgery in an urban Asian population.

Methods: This was a population-based study of 3280 Singapore Malays aged 40–80 years (response rate 78.7%). Participants had a standardised interview and comprehensive ocular examination. Poor post-operative visual outcome was defined as visual acuity ⩽20/60 in operated eyes of unilateral cataract extractions or in the better-seeing eye of bilateral cataract extractions. Factors associated with poor visual outcome were assessed.

Results: Of 3280 participants, 284 (men 52.3%) had unilateral cataract extractions (age-standardised prevalence 4.7%, 95% CI 4.2% to 5.4%) and 154 persons (54%) had bilateral extractions. Older age, male sex and the presence of diabetes were significant factors associated with having had cataract surgery. Poor visual outcomes were present in 10.8% of the operated eyes using best-corrected visual acuity. Diabetic retinopathy (25.5%), glaucoma (17%), age-related macular degeneration (14.9%) and posterior capsular opacification (14.9%) were the main causes of poor visual outcome after surgery. Under-corrected refractive error accounted for 60% of patients with post-operative presenting visual acuity of ⩽20/60.

Conclusions: Five per cent of the sample of the Malay population aged 40–80 years in Singapore had cataract surgery. One in ten had post-operative best-corrected visual acuity of 20/60 or worse, largely related to concomitant retinal diseases.

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