Inadvertent trypan blue posterior capsule staining during cataract surgery

Bryn M. Burkholder, Divya Srikumaran, Afshan Nanji, Bryan Lee, Robert S. Weinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: To report 5 cases of inadvertent posterior capsule staining with trypan blue during phacoemulsification. Design: Retrospective, observational case series. Methods: Five cases of posterior capsule staining with trypan blue were identified from cataract surgeries performed at an academic institution. All 5 eyes underwent phacoemulsification with use of iris retractors. The surgical videos from each case were reviewed to better understand the mechanisms and risk factors for posterior capsule staining with trypan blue and techniques to avoid this complication. Results: No eyes had clinical evidence of zonular pathology during their preoperative examination. Only 1 patient reported a possible childhood history of trauma to both eyes. One eye had uveitis, requiring posterior synechialysis. All 5 cases involved the use of iris retractors. No other intraoperative complications occurred, and the intraocular lens was successfully placed in the capsular bag in all cases. All eyes had resolution of posterior capsule staining by postoperative day 8. Conclusions: Inadvertent posterior capsule staining with trypan blue can occur in eyes that appear structurally normal. The use of iris retractors may facilitate posterior capsule staining by allowing the posterior flow of trypan blue under the iris and through the zonules to the posterior capsule. Surgeons should consider techniques to minimize the risk of posterior capsule staining, particularly in cases involving the use of iris retractors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-628.e1
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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