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Cataract Surgery May Benefit Macular Degeneration

Study finds patients with varying degrees of degeneration gained visual acuity

MONDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals with varying degrees of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may benefit in terms of visual acuity from cataract surgery, according to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) published in the November issue of Ophthalmology.

Farzin Forooghian, M.D., of the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from 1,244 patients who had cataract surgery on 1,939 eyes. Subjects ranged from no AMD to advanced disease. The main outcome measure was change in best-corrected visual acuity after surgery compared with preoperative measurement.

The researchers found that eyes with varying degrees of AMD or without the disease gained visual acuities of 8.4 letters with no AMD, 6.1 with mild AMD, 3.9 with moderate AMD, and 1.9 with advanced AMD. The significant gain in visual acuity was maintained for an average of 1.4 years post-surgery.

"The findings of this study are particularly important in light of epidemiologic studies that suggest a harmful effect of cataract surgery on the acceleration of AMD progression," the authors write. "These findings from AREDS demonstrate a benefit of cataract surgery in patients with varying degrees of AMD, including those with advanced disease."

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