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Aust N Z J Ophthalmol. 1998 Feb;26(1):13-7.

Extracapsular cataract surgery in Vietnam: a 1 year follow-up study.

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Centre for Public Health, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.



Unoperated cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the developing world. Many developing countries now use extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) with intra-ocular lens insertion (IOL) in their cataract blindness-prevention programmes. To date, little research has been directed at visual outcomes and complication rates of ECCE/IOL surgery in developing countries.


We conducted a follow-up study of 155 eyes approximately 12 months after ECCE/IOL surgery by eight local eye surgeons in Central Vietnam. We report the findings for the 144 eyes (93%) successfully reviewed. All subjects underwent manual ECCE with insertion of a three-piece posterior chamber IOL. All eyes were also assessed for the presence and severity of posterior capsule opacification (PCO) using a newly developed grading system.


Overall, 110 eyes (75%) had uncorrected visual acuities > or = 6/24 and 107 eyes (74%) had best spherically corrected visual acuities > or = 6/18. Some degree of PCO was found in 40% of eyes, but was graded as visually significant in only 4% of eyes. No major sight-threatening complications were noted. A portable neodymium:yttrium aluminium garnet (Nd:YAG) laser was used to perform capsulotomies on all eyes with visually significant PCO. There were no laser complications noted.


At approximately 1 year after ECCE/IOL, the visual outcomes for subjects in this cohort were favourable and complication rates were low. Posterior chamber opacification was not a major cause of vision impairment in this cohort. Portable Nd:YAG lasers may provide an effective solution to the problem of visually significant PCO occurring in developing countries as a late complication of extracapsular surgery. These findings support an increasing role for ECCE/PCIOL surgery by trained local eye surgeons in developing countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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