Toward zero effective phacoemulsification time using femtosecond laser pretreatment

Ophthalmology. 2013 May;120(5):942-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.11.045. Epub 2013 Mar 7.


Objective: To compare effective phacoemulsification time after femtosecond laser pretreatment with conventional phacoemulsification and the associated effect on visual outcomes and endothelial cell loss.

Design: Prospective, consecutive, single-surgeon case-control study.

Controls: Controls underwent phacoemulsification cataract extraction plus insertion of an intraocular lens (IOL). Cases underwent pretreatment with the femtosecond laser followed by phacoemulsification cataract extraction and IOL insertion.

Methods: Two hundred one eyes underwent cataract surgery between April 2012 and July 2012. Data collected included patient demographics, preoperative characteristics, femtosecond lens fragmentation method, effective phacoemulsification time (EPT), intraoperative complications, and postoperative outcomes.

Main outcome measures: Effective phacoemulsification time, intraoperative complications, corneal endothelial cell loss, as well as postoperative best-corrected visual acuity, intraocular pressure, and refractive outcomes.

Results: Patient demographics were similar between groups. There was no difference between baseline cataract grades (2.59 ± 0.71 vs. 2.52 ± 0.72, not significant). One hundred percent of cases pretreated with the femtosecond laser had complete capsulotomy. Mean EPT was reduced by 83.6% in the femtosecond pretreatment group (P<0.0001) when compared with controls, with 30% having 0 EPT (P<0.0001). Effective phacoemulsification time was reduced 28.6% within the femtosecond group using improved lens fragmentation algorithms, and a further 72.8% reduction was achieved with a 20-gauge phacoemulsification tip. Overall, there was a 96.2% reduction in EPT between controls and the optimized femtosecond pretreatment group. This was associated with a 36.1% reduction in endothelial cell loss in the femtosecond group. Visual and refractive outcomes were similar to those of conventional cataract surgery.

Conclusions: Femtosecond laser pretreatment results in a significant reduction in effective phacoemulsification time, including the possibility of 0 EPT. Further reductions may be achieved using optimization of lens fragmentation patterns and surgical technique.

Financial disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Male
  • Phacoemulsification / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Refraction, Ocular
  • Time Factors