• Cataract Surgery and Age-Related Macular Degeneration Study;
  • cataract surgery outcomes;
  • diabetes;
  • diabetic retinopathy;
  • epidemiology;
  • vision


Purpose:  To assess cataract surgery visual outcomes 12 months postoperatively in patients with diabetes, with or without diabetic retinopathy (DR), compared to patients without diabetes.

Methods:  We followed 1192 cataract surgical patients aged ≥65 for 12 months postoperatively. Standardised pre- and postoperative pinhole LogMAR visual acuity (VA) measurements were taken. Mean VA improvement was determined by comparing VA after 12 months to preoperative VA.

Results:  Of 1192 surgical patients, 324 (27.2%) had diabetes, of whom, 136 (42.0%) had DR. After adjusting for age, gender, diabetes duration and preoperative pinhole VA, the average VA gained 12 months after surgery was 10.8 letters among 868 patients without diabetes, 10.6 letters among 188 patients with diabetes but no DR, 10.0 letters among 95 patients with DR but no past laser treatment, and no letters among 41 patients with DR plus past laser treatment (p < 0.0001, compared to the other three groups). Diabetes duration ≥20 years was associated with mean VA gain of 3 fewer letters than duration <10 years (7 versus 10 letters, p = 0.023), after adjusting for age, gender, DR and preoperative pinhole VA.

Conclusion:  Cataract surgery improved VA by an average two lines for patients both with and without diabetes, or with DR but no past laser treatment. No significant VA improvement was evident for patients who had preoperative DR and laser therapy.