Response of the corneal endothelium to cataract surgery

Arch Ophthalmol. 1986 Aug;104(8):1164-9. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1986.01050200070053.


Regional changes in endothelial cell density, morphology, and corneal thickness were serially examined with a specular microscope after intracapsular cataract extraction (four eyes), extracapsular cataract extraction (five eyes), and extracapsular cataract extraction with posterior chamber lens implantation (13 eyes). Regardless of the type of cataract surgery, cell loss and morphologic changes (decreased percentage of hexagonal cells, increased cellular elongation, and increased coefficient of variation) were greatest and occurred within one week in the superior cornea. Similar changes occurred after one month centrally but were minimal inferiorly. Endothelial cell density stabilized, and the morphologic changes resolved within three months in all regions of the cornea. Corneal swelling resolved within one month. Differences between the procedures were noted only in the superior portion of endothelium, where cell loss and morphologic changes were greatest following intracapsular cataract extraction. Also, endothelial wound healing was complete and stable three months after cataract surgery, with or without posterior chamber lens implantation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cataract Extraction / adverse effects*
  • Cataract Extraction / methods
  • Cell Count
  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Endothelium / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lenses, Intraocular
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Healing