Cataract operations may be recommended when retinal disease is suspected but cannot be adequately diagnosed or treated because of lens opacity. We evaluated the outcome of cataract operations performed under those circumstances. We reviewed the records of 119 patients who were examined at the Wilmer Retinal Vascular Center and within three months underwent a cataract operation. We identified 17 patients (20 eyes) who underwent a cataract operation at the recommendation of a retinal specialist, to permit diagnosis, to determine eligibility for laser therapy, or to perform laser therapy. After the cataract operation, eight (40%) of the 20 eyes were found to have a retinal disease for which laser therapy was recommended, and six (30%) of the 20 eyes underwent laser therapy that, before the cataract operation, had been impossible. These results indicate that a cataract operation may be useful when lenticular opacity prevents diagnosis or treatment in a patient with a suspected retinal disorder.
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