The management of diabetic patients with refractory macular oedema or patients with no adequate pre-operative view to administer laser treatment provide a challenge to the ophthalmologist. We wished to assess the use, safety and effect of intravitreal triamcinolone injection at the time of cataract surgery in patients with diabetic foveal oedema and sight limiting lens opacities.
This was a longitudinal non-randomised prospective pilot study in 18 eyes (12 patients). All patients had visually significant lens opacities and either persistent diabetic foveal oedema unresponsive to laser treatment-group A, or foveal oedema with no adequate pre-operative view for laser treatment- group B. The cataract surgery was carried out under full aseptic technique using a self-sealing temporal incision and a foldable acrylic lens. Intravitreal triamcinolone was given infratemporally pars plana at the completion of the cataract surgery. The patients were reviewed at day 5, 2 weeks, 2 months and then every 3 months as required. The Wilcoxin matched-pairs test was used to assess the significance of the improvement in visual acuity at 2 months.
Twelve patients with a total of 18 eyes were included in the study. There were 10 patients (15 eyes) in group A and 3 patients (3 eyes) in group B. Preoperatively 16 of the 18 eyes had a visual acuity of 6/24 or worse. Postoperatively 83% of patients had completely dry foveae at 2 weeks. Best-corrected visual acuities at two months review ranged from 6/6 to CF with 9 eyes (50%) achieving 6/12 or better (7 eyes (47%) in group A and 2 eyes (67%) in group B). Three eyes had no recorded improvement in visual acuity, but no eyes had deterioration in acuity. The improvement in visual acuity was significant at p = 0.001. There were no significant sight threatening complications.
Intravitreal triamcinolone has been shown to lead to an improvement in macular oedema and visual improvement in diabetic patients not undergoing cataract surgery but has not, to our knowledge, been previously used in a study like this one.
We suggest that intravitreal injection at the time of cataract surgery could be carried out safely with encouraging visual outcomes in patients with diabetic foveal oedema and cataract.