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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 595-596

Commentary: Pearls in posterior polar cataract

1 Consultant, Cataract and Glaucoma Services, ASG Eye Hospital, Kolkata, India
2 Consultant, Glaucoma Services, Aravind Eye Hospital and Postgraduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Pondicherry, India

Date of Web Publication16-Mar-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Manas Nath
ASG Eye Hospital, Lake Town, Kolkata - 700 048, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2049_19

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How to cite this article:
Nath M, Odayappan A. Commentary: Pearls in posterior polar cataract. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:595-6

How to cite this URL:
Nath M, Odayappan A. Commentary: Pearls in posterior polar cataract. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Apr 2];68:595-6. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/ijo/pages/default.aspx/text.asp?2020/68/4/595/280720

Posterior polar cataract causes significant blurring of vision since it is at the nodal point of the eye and thus the patient presents earlier for cataract surgery. Despite comparatively smaller cataract and rapid recent developments in cataract surgery, there are significant surgical challenges due to preexisting weak or dehiscent posterior capsule.

PITX 3 gene mutation causes dysplastic and abnormal lens fibers to drift posteriorly from the equator resulting in the formation of a central opacity in the posterior capsule.[1] The abnormal lens fibers are adherent to this opacity resulting in a weakened central area of the posterior capsule which can get ruptured during cataract surgery.

According to the literature, the incidence of posterior capsule rupture (PCR) varies from 7%–36%.[2] In this study, Malhotra et al. have reported lower incidence of PCR by combining two surgical techniques and various precautions taken during surgery.[3] A PCR usually occurs following sudden collapse of the anterior chamber, inadvertent hydrodissection, nucleus rotation, or during epinuclear plate removal.

Choice of anesthesia can be either topical or local but we feel that local anesthesia may be preferred as it eliminates lid squeezing, thereby reducing the positive vitreous pressure especially in young patients. When the anterior chamber collapses as may occur following leaky incisions or removal of the irrigation ports, there would be anterior movement of the posterior capsule due to the forward vitreous thrust. When there is a preexisting deficient posterior capsule or if it is very thin, the vitreous thrust on the delicate posterior capsule can cause an intraoperative PCR and vitreous prolapse. In order to prevent this, it is imperative that viscoelastics are simultaneously injected through the side port whenever irrigating instruments are removed from the eye to push the posterior capsule back. This avoids the fluctuation and keeps the anterior chamber deep at all stages.

A capsulorrhexis size of 4.5–5 mm is preferred. Too small capsulorrhexis makes removal of the nucleus and epinucleus difficult and a larger one hinders optic capture after intraocular lens insertion in cases of PCR.

Cortical-cleaving hydrodissection causes the fluid wave to pass across the posterior pole leading to development of unnecessary pressure over the posterior capsule. This can lead to dehiscence or enlargement of the posterior capsular defect with consequent vitreous prolapse or nucleus drop. Hence, it is an absolute contraindication though few experienced surgeons perform multiple small jets of hydrodissection without allowing the fluid wave to cross the central posterior plaque.[4] Using viscodissection also helps avoid this complication as it is much more controlled since we inject just sufficient quantity so that the posterior pole is not crossed. It involves injecting a dispersive viscoelastic between the anterior capsule and the cortical matter. A hydrodelineation in multiple planes could be safely performed to separate the endonucleus from the epinucleus.

Rotation of the nucleus is ideally avoided as it exerts stress on the capsule. Various techniques have been described to remove the nucleus like the “V” or “λ” nucleofractis as described in this article, inverse horseshoe technique among other modifications.[5],[6] Nucleotomy techniques which will put less stress on the capsule are preferred. It is also safer to delay removing the posterior polar opacity until rest of the nucleus is emulsified. Slow-motion phacoemulsification, which comprises of a low bottle height, ultrasound power, aspiration flow rate, and vacuum, is employed. Lowering the parameters reduces the turbulence within the anterior chamber and helps maintain stability. After emulsification, the epinucleus is viscodissected and slowly aspirated preferably by bimanual irrigation-aspiration cannula. Avoid polishing the central posterior capsule plaque if present.

Preoperatively, noting the size of the posterior polar cataract under the slit lamp is also important as those greater than 4 mm have higher incidence of intraoperative PCR as compared to cataracts <4 mm in diameter.[7]

In this study, the authors have mentioned the use of retro-illumination to look for preexisting posterior capsular dehiscence. If available, anterior segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) should be used to predict the possibility of PCR. It has been reported to have a high negative predictive value suggesting that if the AS-OCT shows an intact posterior capsule, in all likelihood, the surgery would be uneventful.[8] Therefore, specific preoperative counseling may be done for only high-risk patients, thereby saving time and avoiding unnecessary anxiety in patients who have a normal AS-OCT.

Recent advances include femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery and zepto precision pulse capsulotomy; however, the cost is a significant limitation to these techniques.

Meticulously following these precautionary measures intraoperatively minimizes the incidence of PCR or vitreous prolapse. PCR without vitreous disturbance does not need an anterior vitrectomy if the anterior hyaloid face is intact. Despite all precautions, PCR is sometimes inevitable. One should always be prepared to deal with posterior capsular dehiscence and vitreous loss and it is advisable to have a standby 3 piece lens for implantation.

  References Top

Addison PK, Berry V, Ionides AC, Francis PJ, Bhattacharya SS, Moore AT. Posterior polar cataract is the predominant consequence of a recurrent mutation in the PITX3 gene. Br J Ophthalmol 2005;89:138-41.  Back to cited text no. 1
Vasavada AR, Vasavada VA. Managing the posterior polar cataract: An update. Indian J Ophthalmol 2017;65:1350-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Malhotra C, Dhingra D, Nawani N, Chakma P, Jain AK. Phacoemulsification in posterior polar cataract: Experience from a tertiary eye care Centre in North India. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:588-93.  Back to cited text no. 3
Fine IH, Packer M, Hoffman RS. Management of posterior polar cataract. J Cataract Refract Surg 2003;29:16-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Salahuddin A. Inverse horse-shoe technique for the phacoemulsification of posterior polar cataract. Can J Ophthalmol 2010;45:154-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Lee MW, Lee YC. Phacoemulsification of posterior polar cataracts—A surgical challenge. Br J Ophthalmol 2003;87:1426-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kumar S, Ram J, Sukhija J, Severia S. Phacoemulsification in posterior polar cataract: Does size of lens opacity affect surgical outcome. Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2010;38:857-61.  Back to cited text no. 7
Pavan Kumar G, Krishnamurthy P, Nath M, Baskaran P, Janani M, Venkatesh R. Can preoperative anterior segment optical coherence tomography predict posterior capsule rupture during phacoemulsification in patients with posterior polar cataract? J Cataract Refract Surg 2018;44:1441-5.  Back to cited text no. 8

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