Purpose: To quantify the dynamics of capsular bag shrinkage after cataract surgery.
Setting: University Eye Hospital, Vienna, Austria.
Methods: Nineteen eyes in 13 patients had clear corneal cataract surgery with implantation of a foldable, open-loop, silicone posterior chamber intraocular lens (IOL) (AMO SI-30). At the same time, an open, poly(methyl methacrylate) capsule tension ring (Morcher type 14 or 14A) was inserted to allow measurement of capsular bag circumference and diameter. After surgery, capsular bag shrinkage was quantified by measuring anterior chamber depth (ACD), iris-lens distance (ILD), and distance between the eyelets of the capsule tension ring using optical methods. Capsular bag circumference (CBC) was deduced from these measurements, which were taken 1 day (baseline), 1 week, and 1 and 3 months postoperatively.
Results: Between 1 day and 3 months, all three parameters decreased significantly. During the first postoperative week, ACD and ILD did not change, while both parameters decreased between 1 week and 1 month. After 1 month, ACD did not decrease further; ILD continued to decrease. The CBC decreased during the entire postoperative period.
Conclusion: Besides ACD and ILD, CBC significantly decreased during the first 3 months after cataract surgery with in-the-bag posterior chamber IOL implantation. The CBC can be calculated from the distance between the ends of the capsule tension ring, which can be measured gonioscopically. From this, the diameter of the capsular bag can be calculated in the living eye. The influence of the capsule tension ring itself on capsular bag shrinkage remains to be established.