Original Research

Macular oedema after uncomplicated phacoemulsification

Aymen D. Jaafar, Suzan A. Abdulkareem, Mustafa D.J. Jaafar
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 81, No 1 | a690 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v81i1.690 | © 2022 Aymen D. Jaafar, Suzan A. Abdulkareem, Mustafa D.J. Jaafar | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 July 2021 | Published: 29 June 2022

About the author(s)

Aymen D. Jaafar, Department of Vitreoretinal, Ibn Al Haitham Teaching Eye Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq
Suzan A. Abdulkareem, Ibn Al Haitham Teaching Eye Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq
Mustafa D.J. Jaafar, Ibn Al Haitham Teaching Eye Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq


Background: Recent development of cataract surgery has led to the improvement of visual outcomes. However, pseudophakic cystoid macular oedema (CME), which is also known as Irvine–Gass syndrome, remains a usual cause of unexpected visual disturbance after both complicated and uncomplicated cataract surgeries. Optical coherence tomography is an important method in detecting changes prior to clinical presentation.

Aim: To assess macular thickness changes after uncomplicated phacoemulsification using spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT).

Setting: The study assessed healthy patients who had uneventful phacoemulsification and changes in macular thickness in Ibn Al Haitham Teaching Eye Hospital (tertiary eye center), Baghdad, Iraq.

Methods: Macular thickness of 86 eyes with uncomplicated phacoemulsification were measured by using four OCT examinations: one preoperatively, which was used as a control, and three in the first week and first and second months. Incidence of macular thickness changes was evaluated in the central and para and perifoveal areas to detect which areas of the macular map will be affected more. Significance was tested by using paired t-test and p < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Significant increase in macular thickness postoperatively during the 2-month period reaching the maximum level in the second month; early significant changes were noticed in paracentral area in the first week whilst significant increase in the central and pericentral area was recorded in the first month. Cystoid macular oedema (CME) was detected in six eyes (7%) in the second month.

Conclusion: Significant variation in macular thickness can occur after uneventful phacoemulsification surgery in healthy patients. Cystoid macular oedema was detected in 7% of our patients using SD-OCT. It is rare after uncomplicated phacoemulsification in healthy individuals but should be kept in mind in the follow-up period. A detailed fundus examination with OCT imaging is thus recommended in the first or second month postoperatively for the early detection and treatment of CME.


macular oedema; cataract; Irvine–Gass syndrome; phacoemulsification; uncomplicated surgery; OCT; macular thickening; cystoid macular oedema


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