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J Cataract Refract Surg. 2003 May;29(5):925-9.

Pseudophakic retinal detachment after uneventful phacoemulsification and subsequent neodymium: YAG capsulotomy for capsule opacification.

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Augenpraxisklinik Dr. Jahn, Bodmanstrasse 8, 87435 Kempten, Germany.



To determine the incidence of retinal detachment (RD) after neodymium:YAG (Nd:YAG) laser capsulotomy for posterior capsule opacification (PCO) and define the characteristics of this type of RD.


A private practice, with statistical evaluation at a university department.


Five hundred twenty-six consecutive eyes that had Nd:YAG capsulotomy because of visually disturbing PCO were followed prospectively for up to 52 months (median 21 months) to determine the incidence of RD. The median age of the 142 men and 320 women was 76 years and the median axial length, 23.3 mm (range 20.5 to 31.3 mm). Before the capsulotomy, all eyes had uneventful phacoemulsification with implantation of a posterior chamber intraocular lens (PC IOL). Eyes with additional surgical procedures or with panretinal laser photocoagulation were excluded. Eyes in which a retinal hole had been treated before Nd:YAG (n = 4) were included. The fundus was examined by binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy with a 2.2 diopter Volk lens in full mydriasis. If necessary, an examination with a 3-mirror lens was done.


The incidence of RD was 0% (0/483; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.0%-0.8%) at 6 months, 0% (0/407; 95% CI, 0.0%-0.9%) at 12 months, and 0.5% (1/213; 95% CI, 0.0%-2.6%) at 24 months. Twenty-one months after Nd:YAG capsulotomy, 1 eye developed an RD that occurred as the result of a horseshoe tear that reopened. The tear, which formed 7 months after phacoemulsification and PC IOL implantation and 6 years before Nd:YAG capsulotomy, had been immediately treated with argon laser photocoagulation. Excluding the 4 eyes with preexisting tears, presumably sealed retinal holes, the incidence at 24 months was 0% (0/212; 95% CI, 0.0%-1.7%). No other eye developed RD over the follow-up.


Retinal detachment after Nd:YAG capsulotomy for PCO was rare in eyes that had previous uneventful phacoemulsification and PC IOL implantation. The exact relationship between the 2 events remains to be established.

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