Visual outcomes of phacoemulsification cataract surgery in horses: 1990-2013

Dennis E. Brooks, Caryn E. Plummer, Susan M. Carastro, Mary Utter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the long-term visual outcome of phacoemulsification lens extraction surgery in foals and horses and identify any unique postoperative complications that affect the visual outcome. Procedure: This is a retrospective medical records study of phacoemulsification cataract surgery in 95 foals and horses from 1990 to 2013. Results: Cataracts were removed by phacoemulsification from 111 eyes of 95 horses ranging in age from 22 days to 26 years (average 8.0 ± 5.7 years). Forty-four of the 95 animals were foals (46.3%). Sixteen horses or foals had surgery bilaterally. One hundred and two eyes were blind preoperatively with 97 eyes (95.1%) having evidence of vision immediately postoperatively. Ninety of the 95 horses (94.7%) regained vision in the immediate postoperative period. Five horses did not recover vision postoperatively. Twenty-four horses had cataracts associated with equine recurrent uveitis (ERU). Trauma was noted as the cause of cataract in 10 horses, and no specific cause for the cataract identified in 61 horses. The combined visual outcome data from horses with all types of cataracts (n = 95) found 83 (87.3%) horses to be visual ≤1 month postoperatively, 47 (49.4%) horses visual for >1-6 months postoperatively, 33 (34.7%) horses visual from >6 to 12 months postoperatively, and 25 horses (26.3%) visual >24 months postoperatively. Conclusion: The results of phacoemulsification cataract surgery in horses indicate at least 26.3% of horses are still visual and able to continue their natural activity for 2 years or more postoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-128
Number of pages12
JournalVeterinary Ophthalmology
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cataract
  • Horse
  • Lens
  • Phacoemulsification
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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