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A Modified Customized Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lens to Improve Visualization During Phacoemulsification in Ectatic Corneas

Wassef Chanbour, Fadi Harb, Elias Jarade


Advanced Keratoconus and ectatic corneal diseases may lead to corneal thinning and irregular astigmatism. The optical distortion caused by these pathologies may result in poor visibility for the surgeon during phacoemulsification operations. Thus, the risk of complication would be increased intraoperatively (capsular rupture, vitreous loss). The aim of this case series was to use Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lens to improve visualization during all the stages of phacoemulsification surgery in irregular corneas and to avoid open sky technique for cataract removal during penetrating keratoplasty. A customized, 12 mm, RGP contact lens was designed and manufactured. Two peripheral notches were customized to fit the hand position of the surgeon (at 11 O’clock and 2 Clock in this case series) to allow clear corneal incisions. Six eyes of 6 patients were included (3 eyes with advanced keratoconus and a severely optically distorted, yet clear corneas, planned for penetrating keratoplasty on the same day; 2 eyes were status post-intracorneal ring segment implantation for stage 4 keratoconus and 1 eye had combined phacoemulsification with superficial keratectomy to remove paracentral corneal Salzmann’s nodule). Lens opacities ranged from +2 to +4 nuclear sclerosis in all eyes. Good visualization of the anterior lens and capsule attained with the RGP contact lens fitting. Improved visualization was reported during all the steps (Capsulorhexis, IA, Phaco. IOL implantation). The phacoemulsification was smooth and non-complicated in a total of 6 eyes of 6 patients. In these cases, without RGP fitting, the operation was not technically possible. The customized notches allowed any insertion of surgical instruments, and with the help of viscoelastic maintained a good stability of the contact lens during the operation. We concluded that customized method Rigid Gas Permeable contact lens, may help reducing complications during phacoemulsification in advanced corneal ectasia and perhaps in irregular corneas as well.


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