Teaching the Capsulorhexis Technique

Authors: Thomas A. Oetting, MS, MD

Publication: Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today I Nov/Dec 2008: 36-38


When using the program outlined in this article, most residents can develop the skills necessary to perform capsulorhexes with a low incidence of complications.

The capsulorhexis is one of the most difficult steps of phacoemulsification to learn. Competence in this area is critical to safe and efficient cataract surgery. I think that learning to create the capsulorhexis has three important components. Residents must (1) visualize a “perfect capsulorhexis,” (2) learn to control instruments in the anterior chamber in three dimensions, and (3) learn to control the capsular tear. Although residents can gain knowledge of some aspects of the procedure without practicing on patients, ultimately capsulorhexis creation is best learned in the OR. This article describes how my colleagues and I teach our capsulorhexis technique at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.