Demographic and Systemic Risk Factors for Persistent Corneal Edema Following Cataract Surgery in Patients With and Without Diabetes


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Purpose: To identify risk factors associated with the development of corneal edema (CE) and the need for corneal transplantation following cataract surgery. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Methods Setting: Nation-wide sample of Medicare beneficiaries from 2011-2015. Study Population: Medicare beneficiaries aged over 65 years who received cataract surgery between 2011-2014 with at least 1 year of continuous follow-up. Data was retrieved from the Denominator and Physician Supplier Part B file from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Main Outcome(s) and Measure(s): The main outcome was the association between demographic characteristics (e.g., age, sex, race/ethnicity) and systemic factors including diabetes status, hypertension, and tobacco use on the incidence of CE and the subsequent need for corneal transplantation following cataract surgery. Results: Among 187,746 beneficiaries, 67,734 had diabetes and 120,012 did not. Beneficiaries with diabetes were more likely to develop CE compared to those without (Odds ratio [OR] 1.19, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] [1.02-1.40]). Compared to those aged 65-74, beneficiaries aged 75-84 and over 85 were more likely to develop CE (OR 1.29 [1.09-1.52]) and OR 1.96 [1.55-2.46], respectively). Asian (OR 2.42 [1.66-3.40]), Hispanic (OR 2.60 [1.73-3.74]), and North American Native (OR 3.59 [1.78-6.39]) race was associated with increased likelihood of developing CE. North American Native beneficiaries had higher risk of requiring corneal transplantation compared to White beneficiaries (OR 9.30 [2.26-25.31]). Female sex decreased likelihood of requiring corneal transplantation post-operatively (OR 0.56 [0.36-0.87]). Amongst those with diabetes, the presence of proliferative diabetic retinopathy increased the likelihood of developing CE (OR 1.94 [1.05-3.39]). Conclusion: Older age, diabetes, and non-White race elevate the risk of CE following cataract surgery, with race incurring the highest risk. Further research is needed to understand the factors underlying the significantly increased risk of CE in racial and ethnic minorities within the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
StatePublished - Oct 2024

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