December 2018

NEWS & OPINION

Cataract study on mortality retracted and replaced


In June 2018, EyeWorld ran a “Research highlight” titled “New benefit of cataract surgery” about a JAMA Ophthalmology article published online in October 2017 and in print in January 2018. The article examined the impact cataract surgery could have on an older patient’s mortality, and the EyeWorld piece summarized the findings and interviewed one of the study authors. At the time, the study1 investigators said that undergoing cataract surgery could lower the risk of death from all causes for patients age 65 and older. However, this conclusion was subsequently found to be erroneous. In August 2018 online and in November 2018 in print, the authors withdrew the original article and replaced the study with a revised version that concluded the opposite: Older individuals who underwent cataract surgery were actually at increased risk of mortality.
An issue with one of the variables used in the study prompted the retraction and replacement. In the retraction notice,2 the authors explained that after being contacted by a reader who questioned the time-varying model used in the study, they reexamined the data. They realized that they had mistakenly defined the time-to-event variable as the period since undergoing cataract surgery, rather than using the diagnosis date as the starting point. The investigators determined that their original conclusion was, for the most part, no longer valid. The only exception was mortality related to neurological issues, which was still lower in those over 65 who underwent the cataract procedure.
EyeWorld would like to alert readers of this new conclusion, which turned out to be very different from the original. We want to ensure readers remain apprised of these latest findings and what they could mean for older patients considering cataract surgery.

References

1. Tseng VL, et al. Association of cataract surgery with mortality in older women:
findings from the Women’s Health Initiative. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018;136:3–10.
2. Tseng VL, et al. Notice of retraction and replacement. Tseng et al. Association of cataract surgery with mortality in older women: findings from the Women’s Health Initiative. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018;136:1313–1314.

Cataract study on mortality retracted and replaced Cataract study on mortality retracted and replaced
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