The Incidence of Retinal Detachment After Cataract Surgery§

Thomas Olsen*, Peter Jeppesen
Dept. of Ophthalmology, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark

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© Olsen and Jeppesen; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University Eye Clinic, Aarhus Hospital NBG, DK-8000, Aarhus C, Denmark; Tel: +45 7846 3249, Fax: +45 7846 3230; E-mail:



To estimate the cumulative risk of retinal detachment (RD) after routine cataract surgery by phacoemulsification.


Department of Ophthalmology, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark


Retrospective cohort study based on 12.222 consecutive cataract surgeries in 7.856 patients using phacoemulsification over a 6 year period from 2000 to 2005. Cases with a diagnosis of RD were identified through the procedure-coding database at the Medical Registry of Aarhus University Hospital, which is based on Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) and used to report to the Danish Patients Registry (LPR). For each case the age of the patient, gender, axial length, surgical complications, postoperative Nd:YAG capsulotomy and time interval between cataract surgery and RD were recorded.


The mean follow-up time was 64.8 months (range 26.2–97.6 months). Forty-eight (48) cases of RD were identified making an overall cumulative risk of 0.39%. As compared to the normal incidence of RD reported in the Scandinavian literature, the relative risk of RD following cataract surgery was about 2.3 times that of the natural incidence. As compared to the average cataract group, the group of RD following cataract surgery was characterized by a younger mean age (60.5 vs. 73.7 years), male gender (58.3% vs 34.8%), longer axial lengths (24.56 vs 23.25 mm) and a higher frequency of surgical complications (10.4% vs 1.8%) (p<0.001) but not a higher frequency of Nd:YAG capsulotomy (p>0.05),


The cumulative risk of RD after lens surgery was about 2.3 times the natural incidence but seems to be lower than that of older reports.


Retinal detachment following cataract surgery is associated with young age, male gender, long axial lengths and surgical complications. The cumulative risk of RD after lens surgery was about 2.3 times the natural.

Keywords: Cataract surgery, retinal detachment, complications, outcome, biometry.