Purpose: To determine intraoperative and postoperative complications and outcomes of phacoemulsification of cataract in eyes that had previous pars plana vitrectomy.
Setting: University-based anterior segment disease referral practice.
Methods: This was a retrospective case-control study of a surgical series of 52 consecutive postvitrectomy cataract extractions statistically compared with control eyes from the same practice.
Results: Cataract extraction followed vitrectomy by 2 months to 6 years (mean 19 months). Cataracts with a posterior subcapsular component were seen more frequently in postvitrectomy eyes (58% versus 25% in control eyes). Cataract extraction after pars plana vitrectomy was often more challenging than in control eyes. Challenges included unstable posterior capsules, loose zonules, and posterior capsule plaque. Postoperative posterior capsule opacification (PCO) was more common in study than in control eyes (51% versus 21%; P = .002), especially if expandable gas or silicone oil had been used at vitrectomy. Visual acuity improved in 87% of study eyes, with 46% achieving a visual acuity of 20/40 or better. In study eyes in which the indication for vitrectomy was macular hole or epiretinal membrane, nuclear sclerosis was the most common cataract type, no intraoperative complications occurred, the PCO rate was low (13%), and visual acuity was better (73% 20/40 or better) than in the other study eyes.
Conclusion: Phacoemulsification after pars plana vitrectomy can be performed with a low complication rate and with good visual results, although limited by underlying retinal disease. Posterior capsule opacification requiring neodymium: YAG capsulotomy was common in this series.