Objective: To compare the change in endothelial cell counts (ECC) after early phacoemulsification and laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI) using sequential argon:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (YAG) laser technique for the treatment of acute primary angle closure (APAC).
Methods: This was a retrospective chart review, case-control study; 86 APAC patients were enrolled. Sixteen patients who underwent early phacoemulsification with intraocular lens implantation and 32 patients who underwent LPI were matched by propensity score analysis. All subjects underwent a complete ophthalmic examination, including intraocular pressure (IOP) measurements, optic disc examinations, and gonioscopy. ECC were acquired at the center of the cornea with a noncontact specular microscope before treatment, and at 1, 6, 12, and 24 months following phacoemulsification or LPI.
Results: The mean follow-up was 26.1 ± 4.7 months in the phacoemulsification group and 26.3 ± 4.5 months in the LPI group. After intervention, the changes in anterior chamber depth and Shaffer grading by gonioscopy were significantly different between groups. ECC were not different before treatment; however, after phacoemulsification or LPI at 12 months (2280 ± 320 vs 1993 ± 380 cells/mm(2)) and 24 months (2113 ± 333 vs 1880 ± 422 cells/mm(2)), there was a significant difference between the two groups (P = 0.040 and P = 0.032 respectively). Regression analysis showed that anterior chamber depth at baseline (P = 0.041) and intervention modality (phacoemulsification vs LPI; P < 0.001) were significantly related to the change in ECC.
Conclusions: Early phacoemulsification showed lower endothelial cell loss than did LPI in the treatment of APAC after a 2-year follow-up. In terms of ECC, early phacoemulsification could be a better intervention modality for APAC.