We performed a prospective randomized study of 288 patients to assess the effect of primary capsulotomy on the angiography incidence of cystoid macular edema in patients undergoing extracapsular surgery with implantation of an intraocular lens. Patients either had a primary capsulotomy or the posterior capsule remained intact immediately following uneventful posterior chamber intraocular lens implantation. Of the 288 patients, 183 (63%) underwent fluorescein angiography. Angiographically confirmed cystoid macular edema occurred significantly more often in the primary capsulotomy group (20 of 93 patients) than in the intact capsule group (four of 71 patients), for an incidence of 21.5% vs 5.6% (P =.003). The cystoid macular edema appeared milder in the intact capsule group; all the patients with angiographically confirmed cystoid macular edema achieved visual acuities of 20 50 or better. The presence of cystoid macular edema made no difference on visual outcome in the intact capsule group. In contrast, the patients with angiographically confirmed cystoid macular edema in the primary capsulotomy group had significantly worse vision than those who did not have cystoid macular edema (P < .02).
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