The answer may be found in the masking effects of catract upon pre-existing disease
The association between cataract surgery and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) still is unclear, said Dr Neil M. Bressler.
In light of this uncertainty, ophthalmologists can consider cataract surgery even in patients with AMD if the cataract affects vision and the patient's quality of life, Dr Bressler added.
Globally, cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) "age-related cataract are responsible for 48% of world blindness." Additionally, WHO reports that in its 2010 estimates AMD is in the top three causes of blindness.1
Yet, there are questions as to the association between cataract surgery and the progression of AMD. According to Dr Bressler, clinical evidence shows no increase in risk for progression to advanced AMD after cataract surgery.
"If you think the cataract is visually significant to a patient, you should consider removing the cataract," he said. "There is no clear evidence that AMD eyes are at clinically important greater risk for progression to advanced AMD following cataract surgery."