Purpose: We compared the inflammatory response after phacoemulsification and conventional extracapsular lens extraction in New Zealand albino rabbits.
Methods: One eye was selected at random and phacoemulsification was performed. Extracapsular lens extraction was done in the fellow eye. In both eyes a polymethylmetacrylate intraocular lens was implanted into the capsular bag and the wound was sutured with a 9-0 polypropylene continuous suture. The levels of prostaglandin E2 in aqueous humour and wet mass of the iris-ciliary bodies were measured at day 1. The number of white blood cells and protein levels in the aqueous humour were measured at day 1, 3, 7, 14 and 30. Corneal thickness was estimated with pachymetry.
Results: Prostaglandin E2 levels and wet masses of iris-ciliary bodies were significantly higher after extracapsular lens extraction, which also induced significantly higher white blood cells counts at day 1 and 3 and higher protein levels at day 7. Extracapsular lens extraction caused more corneal edema at day 3, 7 and 14.
Conclusion: The results suggest that phacoemulsification induced less surgical trauma with less breakdown of the blood-aqueous barrier.