Patient characteristics and outcomes of retained lens fragments in the anterior chamber after uneventful phacoemulsification

John C. Norton, Sunali Goyal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine patient characteristics and outcomes for developing retained nuclear fragments in the anterior chamber after phacoemulsification in at-risk populations. Setting: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Jones Eye Institute, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. Design: Retrospective case series. Methods: Using Current Procedural Terminology codes 2006 to 2018, patients with a diagnosis of retained nuclear fragment in the anterior chamber after uncomplicated phacoemulsification cataract extraction were identified. Patient demographics, ocular biometrics, treatments, and clinical management were recorded. Main outcome measures were visual outcomes and visual acuity at regular follow-up appointments. Results: Nineteen patients (13 with myopia) were identified. Most patients (n = 15) presented with corneal edema and anterior chamber inflammation, and the fragments were diagnosed on slitlamp examination in most patients (n = 18). Seventeen retained fragments were found in the inferior angle. The mean axial length, keratometry, and anterior chamber depth (ACD) values were 23.58 mm, 44.93 diopters, and 2.97 mm, respectively. The mean time from cataract extraction to fragment removal was 34.7 days. The final corrected distance visual acuity ranged from 20/20 to 20/400. Three patients developed cystoid macular edema, and 2 patients had corneal complications after fragment removal. Conclusions: A comparison between the patients in this study and cited cases indicates that long eyes, steep corneas, and a shallow ACD might be risk factors for retained nuclear fragments in patients having cataract extraction. Prompt identification and surgical removal provided the best visual outcomes because most cases proved refractory to steroid treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)848-855
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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