- Purpose: To evaluate the risk factors associated with the occurrence and progression of diabetic retinopathy (DR) after phacoemulsification cataract surgery. Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel. Methods: The medical charts of 52 eyes of 48 consecutive patients who had phacoemulsification were retrospectively reviewed. The occurrence of DR (new development of any DR) and progression (DR requiring laser treatment) were correlated with patients' age, sex, duration of diabetes, control of diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and surgical technique. Exclusion criteria were significant ocular conditions and a follow-up shorter than 6 months. Results: The occurrence of DR was associated with male sex, and among males, with the duration of the disease. An analysis including all patients showed that postoperative progression of preexisting DR was not associated with any factor except poor blood sugar control. Neither the occurrence nor progression of DR was associated with reduced visual acuity Conclusions: The occurrence and progression of DR after phacoemulsification were associated with different factors. Poor systemic control of diabetes increases the risk.