SMALL-GAUGE VITRECTOMY DOES NOT PROTECT AGAINST NUCLEAR SCLEROTIC CATARACT

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Abstract

Purpose:

To determine whether the gauge of vitrectomy instrumentation is associated with the progression of nuclear sclerotic cataract.

Methods:

A prospective interventional and observational study of patients undergoing vitrectomy surgery for various retinal conditions. Patients had Scheimpflug lens photography in the operated and fellow eye at baseline and at 6 months and 12 months after vitrectomy surgery.

Results:

Of 42 eyes included in the analysis, 11 had 20-gauge surgery, 22 had 23-gauge surgery, and 9 had 25-gauge surgery. In all operated eyes, vitrectomy surgery led to the significant progression of nuclear sclerotic cataract, compared with the fellow, unoperated eye. This small study was unable to detect a difference in nuclear sclerotic progression when comparing small-gauge surgery (23 and 25 gauge) with standard 20-gauge surgery.

Conclusion:

Removal of the vitreous gel using any-gauge vitrectomy surgery leads to significant progression of nuclear sclerotic cataract at 6 months and 12 months. The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the vitreous gel is important in protecting the lens from increased exposure to oxygen that leads to the formation of nuclear sclerotic cataract. This increased exposure to oxygen occurs as a result of removing the vitreous gel and is independent of the gauge of vitrectomy instrumentation.

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