Purpose: To compare the postoperative blood-aqueous barrier (BAB) breakdown induced by phacoemulsification with continuous curvilinear capsulorhexis (CCC) and by extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) with a linear capsulotomy.
Setting: Cataract and Refractive Surgery Research Unit, Department of Ophthalmology, St. Thomas' Hospital, London, United Kingdom.
Methods: Anterior chamber flare and cells were measured preoperatively and 1 day, 1 week, and 1 and 3 months postoperatively in two parallel groups of 31 consecutive cataractous eyes. In Group 1, one surgeon performed ECCE with a linear capsulotomy; in Group 2, a second surgeon performed divide and conquer phacoemulsification with CCC. The preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative medication regimen was the same in both groups.
Results: Group 2 eyes had significantly lower anterior chamber flare and cell measurements in the first postoperative month than Group 1 eyes (.01 < P < .00001).
Conclusions: Phacoemulsification with CCC induced a less severe BAB breakdown than ECCE with a linear capsulotomy. Phacoemulsification with CCC may be preferable in high-risk eyes such as those with glaucoma, diabetes, or uveitis, which are prone to complications resulting from postoperative BAB breakdown.