Recent advances in small pupil cataract surgery

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Purpose of review

To highlight the existing and emerging cataract surgery trends in patients with insufficient mydriasis. Discuss the latest pharmacological approaches for pre and intraoperative pupil dilatation. Present the variety of newest pupil expansion devices; critically review their advantages and possible limitations to be considered by the surgeon.

Recent findings

The intracameral use of various mydriatic combinations augmenting the preoperative mydriatic instillations is currently gaining popularity in cataract surgery. Two main options are available: bolus injection of pharmacological agent or its constant irrigation during the phacoemulsification procedure. The former is aimed to expand the pupil, whereas the latter is mostly preventing the pupil from constriction. Introduction of femtosecond-assisted cataract surgery, apart from some benefits was followed by a variety of adverse effects including prostaglandin release into the aqueous humor causing pupil constriction. Preoperative administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs at least 1 day prior to surgery significantly decreases the chance of pupil constriction after laser energy is applied to the eye. However, pupil expansion devices may be needed in up to 10% of cases. Following the success of the Malyugin ring (MicroSurgical Technology Inc., Redmond, Washington, USA) several manufacturers introduced pupil expansion devices of various designs. They are differing with materials, pupillary margin fixation mechanisms, and easiness of manipulations during implantation and removal.


Combination of proper use of pre and intraoperative pharmacological pupil dilatation protocols combined with pupil expander rings allow for well tolerated and effective cataract surgery in the vast majority of patients with insufficient mydriasis.

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