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May 1995

The Barrier Function in Neodymium-YAG Laser Capsulotomy

Author Affiliations

From the Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY (Drs Smith, Trokel, and Auran), and the Manatee Eye Clinic, Bradenton, Fla (Dr Moscoso). The authors have no commercial, proprietary, or financial interest in any of the products or companies described in this article.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1995;113(5):645-652. doi:10.1001/archopht.1995.01100050113040

Background:  Complications following neodymium (Nd)-YAG laser capsulotomy have been attributed to damage to the capsule and vitreous face.

Objectives:  To measure the disruption of the anteriorposterior extracapsular barrier complex induced by Nd-YAG laser capsulotomy and to determine how it might be minimized, using a fluorophotometer.

Design:  Prospective study of 21 eyes undergoing Nd-YAG laser capsulotomy and cross-sectional comparison with 15 pseudophakic eyes with clear capsules.

Setting:  University-based clinical practice. Intervention: Neodymium-YAG laser posterior capsulotomy per study protocol.

Main Outcome Measure:  Change in extracapsular barrier efficiency as measured by fluorophotometry.

Results:  Multivariate regression demonstrated that both anterior vitreous disruption and absence of a posterior chamber intraocular lens (aphakia) were significantly correlated with loss of barrier efficiency, whereas capsulotomy size was not. The anterior vitreous was judged to be undamaged in 67% of eyes treated by the study protocol. However, all myopic eyes sustained damage. Opacification of the posterior capsule itself was also associated with mild loss of barrier function even before capsulotomy, compared with the clear-capsule group. Glaucoma occurred more frequently when barrier efficiency was lost postoperatively.

Conclusion:  Damage to the extracapsular barrier complex by Nd-YAG laser capsulotomy is minimized when the anterior vitreous is preserved. The study treatment protocol may be useful in limiting this damage and in reducing complications.