Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original article
Sustainability of visual acuity in the first 2 years after cataract surgery
  1. Calvin Sze-un Fong1,
  2. Paul Mitchell1,
  3. Elena Rochtchina1,
  4. Tania de Loryn1,
  5. Thomas Hong1,
  6. Jie Jin Wang1,2
  1. 1Centre for Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, Westmead Millennium Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jie Jin Wang, Centre for Vision Research, University of Sydney, Department of Ophthalmology Westmead Hospital, Hawkesbury Road, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia; jiejin_wang{at}


Purpose To assess whether improved visual acuity (VA) is sustained 2 years after the cataract surgery.

Methods The Cataract Surgery and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (CSAMD) study followed 1936 patients aged ≥65 years undergoing phacoemulsification cataract surgery at Westmead Hospital (Sydney, Australia) between 2004 and 2007. Presenting and pinhole VA were assessed and retinal photography was performed annually. VA improvement or reduction was defined if VA differed by ≥2 lines between 1 and 24 months.

Results VA data were available for 1809 patients at 1 month and 1294 at both postoperative visits (71.5% of 1809). At the 2-year visit, 930 patients (71.9%) maintained the same pinhole VA levels that they had at 1 month postoperatively, 199 (15.4%) had an improvement and 165 (12.7%) a reduction in pinhole VA. After adjusting for age and gender, pre-existing macular conditions (early AMD, macular hole or previous laser treatment) were associated with pinhole VA reduction (p=0.02). At the 24-month visit, 58.1% of those with presenting VA improvement wore distance spectacles.

Conclusions One in eight cataract surgical patients lost at least two lines in pinhole VA over the 2-year postoperative period. Regular eye examinations of patients after cataract surgery may help to maximise the surgical benefits over the long term.

  • Epidemiology
  • public health
  • vision
  • cataractvisual acuity

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Presentation meeting: 41st Annual Scientific Congress of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, November 14–18, 2009.

  • Funding National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Level 116 Marcus Clarke Street Canberra ACT 2601. The study was supported by the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council, Canberra, Australia (Grant No 302010, 2004–2006), and Retina Australia (2005). JJW is funded by a National Health & Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship (2005–2014).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Sydney and Sydney West Area Health Service Human Research Ethics Committees.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.