Project Aim

The aim of this project was to determine if the risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) increases after cataract surgery.


The preliminary data analysis of Phase I indicates that there is a higher occurrence of soft indistinct or reticular drusen, retinal pigmentary changes, and late age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in eyes after cataract surgery within a 6 to 12-month period. Specifically, in the surgical cohort, there was a 3.3% incidence of indistinct soft/reticular drusen, a 6.5% incidence of retinal pigmentary changes, and a 0.3% incidence of late AMD in the first eye of subjects without these signs before surgery.

These findings are significant because they suggest that the risk of developing certain AMD signs after cataract surgery is higher than what has been observed in the general older population. The incidence rates of indistinct soft/reticular drusen and retinal pigmentary changes in the surgical cohort are higher compared to a similar age group from a previous study. The presence of these advanced signs of early AMD indicates an increased risk of developing late AMD.

The impact of these results is that they raise concerns about the potential association between cataract surgery and an elevated risk of AMD. Further research and investigation are needed to confirm these findings and determine the long-term implications. If the increased risk is established, it could influence the decision-making process for cataract surgery and may require additional monitoring and management strategies for patients to mitigate the potential development or progression of AMD.

Chief investigator:
Professor Jie Jin Wang
The Westmead Institute for Medical Research


Professor Paul Mitchell, The Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Dr A Maloof, Westmead Hospital

Professor Wayne Smith, University of Sydney

Grant awarded:
$25,000 (2005)

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