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Combined pars plana vitrectomy and phacoemulsification to restore visual acuity in patients with chronic uveitis.

PURPOSE: To report the outcomes of combined phacoemulsification and pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) to restore visual acuity in patients with cataract and posterior segment involvement secondary to chronic uveitis.

SETTING: Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Service, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

METHODS: This study comprised 34 patients (20 women, 14 men; 36 eyes) with posterior segment involvement secondary to chronic uveitis who had combined phacoemulsification and PPV from 1998 to 2002. The main outcome measures were visual acuity, intraocular pressure, and cystoid macular edema.

RESULTS: The mean patient age was 45 years +/- 16.09 (SD). The mean duration of uveitis before surgery was 56 +/- 44.17 months. In 24 eyes (66.7%), an intraocular lens (IOL) was implanted during surgery; 12 eyes (33.3%) were left aphakic. Five eyes (13.8%) received an intraocular steroid injection intraoperatively. Visual acuity improved in 26 eyes (72.2%), deteriorated in 5 (13.9%), and was unchanged in 5 (13.9%). The main reason for decreased visual acuity was refractory macular edema. During the follow-up, 2 IOLs were explanted secondary to lens intolerance. One IOL was repositioned because of iris capture by the haptics, and 1 dislocated inferiorly, causing monocular diplopia. The mean follow-up was 23.4 +/- 16.7 months.

CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that combined phacoemulsification and PPV is a feasible technique for the removal of cataract and pathologic vitreous in eyes with chronic uveitis. Although the exact role of vitrectomy in patients with uveitis remains to be determined, the combined surgery successfully restored useful vision in most cases.

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