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Ophthalmology. 2013 May;120(5):949-55. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.10.009. Epub 2013 Jan 26.

Functional improvement after one- and two-eye cataract surgery in the Salisbury Eye Evaluation.

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Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



To determine the impact that cataract and cataract surgery have on clinical measurements of vision, reading speed, objective mobility performance, and subjective visual functioning.


Prospective, population-based study.


A total of 1739 Salisbury Eye Evaluation (SEE) participants without previous cataract surgery with bilateral baseline best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) ≤ 0.3 (≥ 20/40) or cataract surgery between rounds 1 and 2.


Participants were categorized on the basis of cataract surgery by round 2 into no surgery, unilateral surgery, or bilateral surgery. Visual performance, mobility-based tasks, and the Activities of Daily Vision Scale (ADVS) were measured at baseline and 2 years. Mobility score was converted into a z score by subtracting the participant's time from the population baseline average and then dividing by the standard deviation. Comparisons were made between the no surgery and surgery groups using multivariate linear regression.


Change in bilateral BCVA in logMAR, contrast sensitivity, reading speed in words per minute (wpm), mobility score, and ADVS.


During the study period, 29 participants had cataract surgery on both eyes, 90 participants had unilateral surgery, and 1620 participants had no surgery. After adjusting for baseline value, demographics, depression, and mental status, the unilateral surgery group's BCVA improved 0.04 logMAR (P = 0.001) and the bilateral group's BCVA improved 0.13 compared with no surgery (P<0.001). Overall mobility declined in all groups. The unilateral group's z score decreased 0.18 more than that of the no surgery group (P = 0.02), whereas the bilateral group showed a 0.18 z score improvement compared with no surgery (P = 0.19). Change in reading speed significantly improved in the unilateral and bilateral groups compared with no surgery (12 and 31 wpm, respectively). The bilateral surgery group showed significant positive change in ADVS compared with no surgery (5 points of relative improvement; P = 0.01), whereas the unilateral group showed a 5-point relative decline (P<0.001).


Cataract negatively affects both subjective quality of life and objective performance measures. Unilateral cataract surgery improves visual functioning, but the largest gains are found in patients who undergo second-eye cataract surgery. This finding supports second-eye cataract surgery for patients with visual or functional symptoms even after successful first-eye surgery.


The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

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