Background: The use of smaller cataract incision is thought to induce less astigmatism, resulting in a more stable refraction and more stable wound.
Methods: We have analyzed the early astigmatic changes and rehabilitation in 20 eyes of 16 patients operated with advanced phacoemulsification techniques. The patients operated with small-incision surgery (incision 4.0 mm) were compared to those with large-incision surgery (incision 7.5 mm). Keratometric values and visual acuity data were evaluated up to 6 months postoperatively.
Results: Less initial induced astigmatism was demonstrated at day 7 postoperatively with a 4.0-millimeter incision (0.1 +/- 0.53 D) compared with a 7.5-millimeter incision (1.90 +/- 1.97). Similar but not statistically significant changes were seen at days 1 and 30 postoperatively. Visual rehabilitation was also faster in the small-incision group and 70% of the eyes gave uncorrected visual acuity of 20/40 or better in this group as early as the first postoperative day. Only 11% of the eyes showed that uncorrected visual acuity after large-incision surgery at first postoperative day.
Conclusion: The low amount of induced cylinder, rapid stabilization of the wound, and faster visual rehabilitation confirms the advantage of small-incision cataract surgery to large-incision surgery.