Effect of heparin in the irrigation solution on postoperative inflammation and cellular reaction on the intraocular lens surface

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2002 Jan;28(1):87-92. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(01)00861-6.


Purpose: To evaluate the influence of heparin sodium in the irrigation solution on postoperative inflammation and cellular reaction on the anterior surface of a hydrophilic intraocular lens (IOL).

Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Methods: This randomized prospective single-surgeon study included 50 patients with senile cataract only. Half the patients received 1 mL of heparin sodium (concentration 10 IU/mL) in addition to the regular irrigating solution. In all other respects, the procedure was standardized: clear corneal incision, phacoemulsification, and implantation of a Hydroview foldable hydrogel IOL (Bausch & Lomb). The parameters of inflammation-anterior chamber flare and cells-were evaluated with the pupil dilated in a masked fashion using a Kowa FC-1000 laser flare-cell meter 1, 3, 7, 14, and 28 days and 3, 6 and 12 months postoperatively. The cellular reaction was semiquantitatively examined and analyzed by specular microscopy.

Results: In both groups, flare and cell values increased on the first postoperative day and successively decreased thereafter. In the first week, the flare and cell values were significantly higher in the group without heparin sodium in the irrigating solution. Subsequently, there were no differences between the 2 groups in flare or cells. At 1 day, the heparin sodium group had statistically significantly fewer IOLs with no cells on the surface. Subsequently, no differences in cellular reaction on the IOL were observed.

Conclusions: Heparin sodium added to the standard irrigating solution reduced disturbances of the blood-aqueous barrier in the early postoperative period. There seemed to be no long-term effect, especially on cellular reaction, on the hydrophilic IOL surface.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Blood-Aqueous Barrier / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Fibrosis / prevention & control
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / prevention & control*
  • Heparin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Lens, Crystalline / pathology
  • Lenses, Intraocular*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Phacoemulsification
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Therapeutic Irrigation
  • Uveitis, Anterior / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anticoagulants
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Heparin