Cataract surgery is incredibly safe these days, and more than 97% of all who undergo it have a successful, uneventful recovery.1 But what about that 3% who have complications? Issues such as post-op persistent anterior uveitis can be devastating for these patients. Researchers in Colorado didn’t find many obvious risk factors associated with this complication, such as age, sex or surgery length, but they did discover one patient population that might warrant closer follow-up.2

The team from the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology conducted a retrospective cohort study that included a chart review of 3,013 eyes from 2,019 patients. They excluded those with a history of autoimmune disease, uveitis, cataract surgery combined with another intraocular surgery and anyone with a complicated cataract surgery.2

They found only 2.0% of eyes (48 patients) developed persistent anterior uveitis (defined using the criteria of the Standardization of Uveitis Nomenclature Working Group). Of the 61 eyes that developed persistent anterior uveitis, 29.5% also developed cystoid macular edema. While age, sex, surgery duration and cumulative phaco energy were identified as risk factors, African-American patients were more likely than Caucasians to develop anterior uveitis.

The researchers also reviewed visual outcome measures such as post-operative visual acuity and intraocular pressure (IOP). These data showed that patients with anterior uveitis did not have worse visual acuity than those without the complication. In addition, race didn’t factor into who was likely to experience worse visual acuity or increased IOP.

1. Abell RG, Darian-Smith E, Kan JB, et al. Femtosecond laser–assisted cataract surgery versus standard phacoemulsification cataract surgery: Outcomes and safety in more than 4,000 cases at a single center. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2015;41:47-52.

2. Reddy AK, Patnaik JL, Miller C, et al. Risk factors associated with persistent anterior uveitis after cataract surgery. Am J Ophthalomol. February 19, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].