Background: The precision of intraocular lens (IOL) calculation is essentially determined by the accuracy of the measurement of axial length. In addition to classical ultrasound biometry, partial coherence interferometry serves as a new optical method for axial length determination. A functional prototype from Carl Zeiss Jena implementing this principle was compared with immersion ultrasound biometry in our laboratory.
Patients and methods: In 108 patients attending the biometry laboratory for planning of cataract surgery, axial lengths were additionally measured optically. Whereas surgical decisions were based on ultrasound data, we used postoperative refraction measurements to calculate retrospectively what results would have been obtained if optical axial length data had been used for IOL calculation. For the translation of optical to geometrical lengths, five different conversion formulas were used, among them the relation which is built into the Zeiss IOL-Master. IOL calculation was carried out according to Haigis with and without optimization of constants.
Results: On the basis of ultrasound immersion data from our Grieshaber Biometric System (GBS), postoperative refraction after implantation of a Rayner IOL type 755 U was predicted correctly within +/- 1 D in 85.7% and within +/- 2 D in 99% of all cases. An analogous result was achieved with optical axial length data after suitable transformation of optical path lengths into geometrical distances.
Conclusions: Partial coherence interferometry is a noncontact, user- and patient-friendly method for axial length determination and IOL planning with an accuracy comparable to that of high-precision immersion ultrasound.