Preoperative cataract grading by Scheimpflug imaging and effect on operative fluidics and phacoemulsification energy

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2010 Feb;36(2):242-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2009.08.032.


Purpose: To evaluate the power use, chamber stability, and surgical efficiency of a phacoemulsification system when cataracts were graded preoperatively using the Pentacam Nucleus Grading System (PNS) and adjustments were made in phaco parameters based on the cataract grade.

Setting: Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie, Ontario, Canada.

Methods: Cataracts were graded using Scheimpflug imaging (Pentacam) in consecutive patients. In Group 1, surgery was performed with no change in parameters. In Group 2, adjustments were made preoperatively in fluidics and phaco power to reflect the cataract grade determined by Scheimpflug imaging. Parameters assessed in both groups included effective phaco time (EPT), balanced salt solution (BSS) use, and needle time to remove the cataract.

Results: There were 200 patients in each group. Emulsification and aspiration of higher and lower grades of cataract took statistically significantly less EPT and BSS in Group 2 (preoperative parameter adjustments) than in Group 1. The needle time for the higher grades of cataract was statistically significantly less in Group 2. For cataracts of a middle grade (2 to 3; 63% of cases), there was no statistically significant difference between standard phaco settings and adjusted settings. The cataract was effectively aspirated in both groups.

Conclusion: Preoperatively adjusting phaco parameters based on cataract grade helped improve overall efficiency by reducing the amount of energy and fluid used in the eye and reducing overall phaco time.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / administration & dosage
  • Aged
  • Cataract / classification*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular*
  • Male
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Phacoemulsification / methods*
  • Preoperative Care
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Time Factors


  • Acetates
  • BSS solution
  • Drug Combinations
  • Minerals
  • Sodium Chloride