To evaluate change in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) in patients with diabetes and diabetic retinopathy (DR) after cataract extraction (CE).
Retrospective cohort study.
Diabetic eyes of patients 18 years of age or older that underwent CE at the Cleveland Clinic from 2012 through 2018.
Chart review examining visual acuities from patient visits before and after surgery, as well as OCT images. Statistical analysis was carried out using multiple linear regression models.
The primary end point was change in BCVA during the first postoperative year. The secondary end point was the association of central subfield thickness at baseline with change in BCVA. Additional preoperative factors examined were age, race, gender, laterality, insulin use, hemoglobin A1c, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and estimated glomerular filtration rate.
Diabetic eyes without DR (n = 138) and eyes with mild/moderate nonproliferative DR (NPDR; n = 125), severe NPDR (n = 20), and proliferative DR (PDR; n = 72) were included. A year after surgery, eyes without DR gained a median of 11.0 Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) letters (interquartile range [IQR], 5.0-20.0) from 65.0 (IQR, 58.0-70.0) before surgery, eyes with mild or moderate DR gained 10.0 letters (IQR, 5.0-22.0) from 65.0 (IQR, 58.0-76.0), eyes with severe NPDR gained 20.5 letters (IQR, 8.0-28.5) from 55.0 (IQR, 26.0-65.0), and eyes with PDR gained 15.0 letters (IQR, 6.0-29.5) from 55.0 (IQR, 35.0-61.0). Eyes without DR or mild or moderate NPDR showed significantly greater improvements in VA 1 year after surgery compared with eyes with severe NPDR or PDR when controlling for baseline visual acuity (VA), with eyes with more severe DR showing less expected VA gain (P < 0.001). Length of disease most strongly related to baseline DR severity (ρ = 0.431; P < 0.001).
Cataract surgery is beneficial in most patients with DR without severe concurrent macular pathologic features. However, preoperative VA and the severity of DR can limit visual outcomes.

Copyright © 2020 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.