Background: In the present prospective randomized study the effectiveness and safety of trabecular aspiration combined with clear cornea phacoemulsification (phaco) was compared to clear cornea phaco alone in patients with pseudoexfoliation (PEX) glaucoma and visually disabling cataract.
Methods: Twenty-seven patients suffering from visually significant cataract (visual acuity < 5 Snellen lines) and PEX glaucoma were randomly assigned to either phaco combined with trabecular aspiration (14 eyes of 14 patients) or phaco alone (13 eyes of 13 patients). Inclusion criteria for glaucoma were IOP < or = 22 mmHg under treatment with up to two antiglaucomatous agents, excluding pilocarpine 4%, and no previous surgery or laser trabeculoplasty treatment. Clear cornea phaco with foldable acrylic intraocular lens (IOL) implantation was carried out in all patients uneventfully. Trabecular aspiration was performed using a special probe in the inferior 180 deg of the angle after IOL implantation.
Results: Follow-up duration ranged from 12 to 18 months. In the combined procedure group there was a statistically significant decrease in postoperative IOP during the whole follow-up period (P < 0.01), while in 9 of the 14 patients the IOP was controlled without medications at the last examination. In the phaco alone group a statistically significant decrease in postoperative IOP was recorded at 9 and 12 months after surgery (P < 0.05), while in 4 of the 13 patients the IOP was controlled without medications at the last examination. Comparing the two groups, a statistically significantly lower number of medications was being used in the combined procedure group at the last recorded examination (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: It seems that the combined clear cornea phaco and trabecular aspiration procedure in cases of PEX glaucoma associated with cataract is a safe and effective method. This technique controls IOP more effectively and with fewer postoperative medications than clear cornea phaco alone.