Retrospective evaluation of phacoemulsification and aspiration in 41 horses (46 eyes): visual outcomes vs. age, intraocular lens, and uveitis status

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To determine the effect of age at the time of surgery, intraocular lens (IOL) placement, and presence of chronic uveitis on visual outcome after phacoemulsification and aspiration (PA) of cataracts in horses.

Animals studied

Records of 41 horses (46 eyes) receiving unilateral or bilateral PA.


Retrospective analysis of horses receiving unilateral or bilateral PA at the NCSU-VTH (35 horses, 39 eyes) and in Northern Italy (six horses, seven eyes) was performed. Visual status at last follow-up was compared to age at the time of surgery, IOL status, and presence of chronic uveitis preoperatively. Seven horses with chronic uveitis also underwent placement of a suprachoroidal cyclosporine implant. Clinical ophthalmic examinations and owner questionnaires were used to evaluate visual status.


Twenty-one of 46 eyes (46%) received an IOL and 12 of 46 eyes (26%) had chronic uveitis. Overall, 25 of 46 eyes (54%) were visual at last follow-up (mean 35.1 ± 34.8 months). Age (mean 8.6 ± 7.7 years) was not significantly associated with visual outcome. Fourteen of 21 (67%) pseudophakic eyes and 11 of 25 (44%) aphakic eyes were visual at last follow-up (P = 0.342). Eyes with preoperative chronic uveitis were significantly less likely to be visual (3 of 12 eyes [25%]) than horses without preoperative chronic uveitis (22 of 34 eyes [65%]) (P = 0.023).


Horses with chronic uveitis had significantly less favorable visual outcome after PA. Older age at surgery and IOL use were not associated with poor visual outcome.

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