To evaluate the effect of cataract extraction (CE) by phacoemulsification on the vitreomacular interface (VMI) of eyes with preexisting vitreomacular traction (VMT).
Retrospective, observational case series. Patients with VMT who elected to proceed with CE, before any vitreoretinal intervention, were studied. Eyes with at least a 12-month follow-up period were included. The status of the vitreomacular adhesion at different time points was assessed using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography. The best-corrected visual acuity was recorded at different time points. Other macular and systemic comorbidities were documented.
Fifteen eyes from 15 phakic patients with symptomatic VMT were included. Six of them were male subjects. Seven patients had diabetes mellitus and two of them also had nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. The preoperative macular comorbidities included macular hole in six eyes (Stage 1 in 3 eyes and Stage 2 or 3 in another 3 eyes), epiretinal membrane in five eyes, and cystoid macular edema in four eyes. After uncomplicated CE, the VMT was released in 5 eyes, whereas in 10 eyes, CE did not significantly change the status of the vitreomacular adhesion. Three of 3 eyes with preexisting full-thickness macular hole (Stage 2 or 3 macular hole) were found to have Stage 4 macular hole shortly after CE. In seven of seven patients with diabetes mellitus, the status of the vitreomacular interface did not change after CE. Eventually, 7 of 15 patients underwent additional pars plana vitrectomy. Compared with the baseline vision, and vision before other interventions, the visual acuity after CE improved in 5 patients, remained unchanged in 7 patients, and decreased in the 3 patients with Stage 2 or 3 macular hole. The mean preoperative and early postoperative visual acuity was 20/59 and 20/68, respectively (P > 0.05).
The effect of CE in phakic eyes with known VMT varies significantly. In the current case series, every eye with VMT and Stage 2 or 3 macular hole ended up with Stage 4 macular hole, although the VMT did not change significantly in the eyes of diabetic patients. Studies with larger sample size are needed to further elucidate the impact of elective CE on VMT.