Post-Cataract Surgery Optic Neuropathy: Prevalence, Incidence, Temporal Relationship, and Fellow Eye Involvement

Ahmadreza Moradi, Sivashakthi Kanagalingam, Marie Diener-West, Neil R Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To reassess the prevalence and incidence of post-cataract surgery optic neuropathy (PCSON) in the modern era. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Methods: . Setting: Single-center tertiary care practice. . Study Population: All patients with a diagnosis of nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) seen in the Wilmer Eye Network system between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2014 were included. Inclusion was based on the following: (1) a history of an acute unilateral decrease in vision, (2) a visual field defect consistent with NAION, (3) a relative afferent pupillary defect, (4) observed optic disc swelling, and (5) no other etiology being found. . Main Outcome Measures: The prevalence and incidence of PCSON and the temporal association between surgery and onset of PCSON. The secondary outcome was the risk of PCSON in the fellow eye of patients with prior unilateral spontaneous NAION. Results: One hundred eighty-eight patients had developed NAION during the study period. Of these, 18 (9.6%) had undergone cataract surgery (CS) during the year prior to developing NAION. There was no significant temporal pattern associated with the distribution of NAION cases (P = .28). The incidence of PCSON in patients who had noncomplex CS was 10.9 cases per 100 000 (95% CI, 1.3, 39.4). Conclusions: Our data indicate that both the prevalence and incidence of NAION after modern CS are comparable to those of the general population and that there is no significant temporal relationship between modern CS and the subsequent development of NAION in the operated eye. Thus, although this study has inherent biases owing to its retrospective nature, concern regarding an increased risk of PCSON in the fellow eye in patients who have experienced it or spontaneous NAION in 1 eye may be unwarranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
StateAccepted/In press - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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