Cataract surgery complications in 1 year at an academic institution

J Cataract Refract Surg. 1999 May;25(5):705-8. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(99)00017-6.


Purpose: To delineate all complication rates of cataract surgery and define normative rates, trends, and outliers as part of continuous quality management.

Setting: John A. Moran Eye Center, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Methods: All cataract surgeries done at the John A. Moran Eye Center from July 1, 1996, to June 30, 1997 (1 complete academic year) were reviewed for intraoperative complications using operative reports. Cases with documented preoperative zonular dehiscence, traumatic capsule breakage, previous vitreous in the anterior chamber, or an accompanying major secondary procedure (e.g., trabeculectomy, corneal transplantation) were eliminated from the study. Over this year, 1729 cataract surgeries were performed by 12 attending physicians, 3 fellows, and 4 residents. Cases of cataract removal with intraocular lens implantation ranged from 18 to 510 per surgeon.

Results: There were 44 cases (2.54%) of posterior capsule rupture, with 29 (1.68%) requiring vitrectomy. Most capsule breakages occurred during phacoemulsification. The Student t test showed no statistically significant difference in the incidence of capsule breakage among surgeons (incidence from 0% to 6.25%). All cases were started as phacoemulsification, with 6 conversions (0.35%) to planned extracapsular cataract extraction.

Conclusions: In evaluating continuous quality management, no outliers were found within our center. Phacoemulsification was the part of cataract surgery most likely to cause posterior capsule rupture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cataract Extraction / adverse effects*
  • Cataract Extraction / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospital Records / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intraoperative Complications* / epidemiology
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Utah / epidemiology