Purpose: To compare rates of vitreous loss during cataract surgery when a silicone-tipped irrigation/aspiration (I/A) instrument is used for cortex removal as opposed to a metal tip. Setting: Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Texas, USA. Methods: A retrospective chart review of all patients who had cataract extraction by phacoemulsification by third-year ophthalmology residents between September 2000 and February 2004 was conducted. A silicone-tipped I/A instrument was used to remove cortex for all surgeries beginning in September 2002, whereas a metal I/A tip was used previously. Results: Of the 1072 cases performed with a metal I/A tip, there were 13 cases of vitreous loss during cortex removal (rate 1.2%) and 26% of all vitreous loss during that time occurred during cortex removal. Of the 805 cases performed with a silicone I/A tip, there was a single case (0.1%) of vitreous loss during cortex removal (P = .004); only 4% of all vitreous loss during that time occurred during cortex removal (P = .011). Conclusion: The overall incidence of vitreous loss during cortex removal and the ratio of vitreous loss during cortex removal to all cases of vitreous loss were significantly decreased using the silicone-tipped I/A instrument.
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