Safer, Speedier Cataract Surgery: Moran Researchers Share Efficiencies for One of America’s Most Common Surgeries

Apr 18, 2018 9:00 AM

It’s been a half-century since the invention of phacoemulsification, a modern method for removing cataracts that uses high-frequency ultrasound to break up and remove the eye’s clouded natural lens.

While so-called “phaco” machines have advanced dramatically, surgeons are focused on researching settings and techniques to increase the efficiency of their operations. That could make a typical 10 minute cataract surgery—one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the US—even faster.

“Increasing the efficiency of cataract surgery is important because the more efficient the surgery, the less potentially harmful energy you deliver to the eye,” explained Moran’s Jeff Pettey, MD. “A more efficient surgery translates to a quicker recovery for patients.”

A prolific new body of research from the John A. Moran Eye Center is vetting a variety of phaco settings and techniques aimed at making phacoemulsification as efficient— and safe—as possible. Pettey and the research team presented new research on the issue at the annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) in April.

christina_mamalis.jpgA series of four recent phaco studies examine the issues of efficiency and so-called ‘chatter’ events, where the tip of the hand piece is pushed off of the eye. Moran resident Christina Mamalis, MD, (pictured at left) garnered an ASCRS Best Paper of Session award with her study, "Effect of Pulsing with Transverse Ultrasound on Efficiency and Chatter."

Historically, there was no way to quantify efficiency through research due to a lack of human tissue. In a landmark contribution to the field, Moran pioneered the use of comparable porcine lens tissue, which allowed researchers to conduct large-scale testing.

Other efficiency-related research presented at ASCRS included:

"Effect of Chamber Stabilization Environment on Efficiency and Chatter During Phacoemulsification in a Porcine Lens Model"

"Effect of High-Vacuum and Aspiration on Phacoemulsification Efficiency and Chatter Using Transversal Phacoemulsification"

"Impact of Torsional Micropulse on Phacoemulsification Efficiency and Chatter"

vision research cataract surgery