Purpose: To determine the frequency and nature of intraoperative complications of endocapsular phacoemulsification cataract surgery.
Setting: Dalcross Private Hospital and the Departments of Ophthalmology, Concord Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia.
Methods: This prospective study included the first 1000 cases of planned endocapsular phacoemulsification cataract surgery performed by an experienced surgeon. A standardized proforma was completed at the time of surgery. Data recorded included pre-existing ocular abnormalities, duration of surgery, nuclear sclerosis grade, and intraoperative complications.
Results: Major complications comprised posterior capsule tears with vitreous loss (1.4%), isolated posterior capsule tears (0.7%), and zonulysis (0.1%). Minor complications included anterior capsule tears (3.8%), iris prolapse (0.6%), and ciliary body incision (0.2%). There was a significant trend toward complications as the nuclear sclerosis grade increased. The incidence of major complications was 9.3% in the first 150 cases and 0.9% in the last 850. This represents a relative risk of 9.9 (95% confidence interval 4.2 to 23.0) of a major complication occurring in the first 150 compared with the later 850 cases.
Conclusion: The frequency of major and minor complications fell sharply after the first 150 operations and was maintained. This study may provide a guide for beginning phacoemulsification surgeons and a basis for experienced surgeons to compare their performance outcomes.