Visual Outcomes and Intraoperative Complication Rates of Phacoemulsification Cataract Surgery by Third Year Ophthalmology Residents in the UP-Philippine General Hospital

  • Richard C. Kho
  • Maria Angelica DF. Villano
Keywords: phacoemulsification, outcomes, complications, residents, Philippines


Background. Phacoemulsification is the most important cataract surgical procedure performed by ophthalmology residents. There is an increasing and consistent trend in international studies on decreased complication rates and more efficient surgical techniques with more surgeries performed. The data collected from this study can be used to quantitatively assess the cataract surgery training of Ophthalmology residents in the country and can help to improve the quality of cataract surgeries taught and performed in the training programs.

Objectives. To analyze outcomes of phacoemulsification cataract surgeries and to determine the intraoperative complication rates of third-year residents of the University of the Philippines - Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

Methods. Retrospective chart review of phacoemulsification cases done by eight third-year ophthalmology residents at the UP-PGH from January 1 to December 31, 2017. Outcomes measured included postoperative best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), intraoperative complications (posterior capsular rent and vitreous loss), and adjusted phacoemulsification times (total phacoemulsification time multiplied by phacoemulsification power used).

Results. Four hundred ninety-two (492) cases were analyzed. Postoperative mean BCVA was 20/25. There were no significant differences in visual acuity outcomes over the course of training. Intraoperative complications occurred in 33 cases, with fewer cases with posterior capsule rent and vitreous loss later in training after the first 50 cases. There was a downward trend of adjusted phacoemulsification time throughout training, with a significant difference between the first 50 and 100 cases.

Conclusion. Good visual outcomes are achievable throughout the resident’s phacoemulsification learning curve. Surgical competency in phacoemulsification, as measured by complication rates and phacoemulsification efficiency, still improves significantly with an increasing number of cases and experience beyond the first 100 cases.