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Lens opacities after posterior chamber phakic intraocular lens implantation

César A Sánchez-Galeana, Ronald J Smith, Donald R Sanders, Arturo S Chayet, Francisco X Rodríguez, Sergio Litwak, Miguel Montes.


To describe a case series to determine the incidence of lens opacities after posterior chamber phakic intraocular lens (IOL) implantation (STAAR Surgical, Monrovia, CA) for very high ametropias.


Retrospective, noncomparative, interventional case series.


Fourteen eyes of 170 consecutive eyes with high ametropias in whom lens opacities developed after posterior chamber phakic IOL implant (PCPIOL).


Posterior chamber phakic intraocular lens implant.


Lens opacity appearance, localization, and clinical course.


Fourteen eyes developed lens opacities 125 +/- 116 days after phakic IOL implant. All eyes had anterior subcapsular opacities, and two eyes also developed nuclear sclerosis. The anterior opacities did not extend posteriorly within the lens, and there were no posterior subcapsular cataracts. Seventy-one percent of opacities were first seen </=3 months, and 86% were seen </=7 months postoperatively. Seventy-nine percent of opacities were seen in the first or second implants of surgeons being trained; 19% of the first 16 cases and 0% of the next 43 cases of one surgeon developed opacities. Mean follow-up after opacity diagnosis was 9.1 +/- 6.8 months. Nine of the 14 (64%) opacities were asymptomatic. Two eyes developed nocturnal glare, with no loss of best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and one had loss of BCVA. Two additional eyes with both nuclear sclerotic and anterior subcapsular lens opacities had visual symptoms and/or loss of BCVA and underwent phakic IOL explantation, cataract extraction by phacoemulsification, and PCPIOL implant with good visual outcome. In the entire series, 5 of 170 (2.3%) implantations had symptomatic opacities in which 111 implantations were the first or second case of the implanting surgeon.


Lens opacities are a potential complication of phakic IOL implantation. Most lens opacities were first seen in the early postoperative period and were most likely due to surgically induced trauma. The anterior subcapsular type was most common and tended not to be rapidly progressive during the follow-up period. The presence of nuclear sclerotic cataract was visually significant and progressive. Long-term follow-up is warranted to evaluate the rate of progression and course of lens opacities after phakic IOL implant surgery.