PURPOSE: Phacoemulsification cataract surgery is one of the most important surgical procedures learned by ophthalmology residents during their residency training. We evaluated the visual outcomes and incidence of vitreous loss of phacoemulsification cataract surgeries performed by ophthalmology residents without prior planned extracapsular cataract extraction experience. DESIGN: Interventional case series. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed on 332 consecutive phacoemulsification cataract surgeries performed by third-year ophthalmology residents from July 1999 through June 2001. Data included are preoperative and postoperative best-corrected visual acuity, preexisting ocular comorbidities, and intraoperative and postoperative complications. RESULTS: Postoperative best-corrected visual acuity was 20/40 or better in 89% of eyes. After excluding the cases with preexisting ocular comorbidities, the percentage increased to 97.7%. Vitreous loss occurred in 4.8% of cases. CONCLUSIONS: Ophthalmology residents can learn to perform phacoemulsification cataract surgery safely and effectively without prior planned extracapsular cataract extraction experience.
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