To assess residents’ performance of phacoemulsification surgery and determine which steps of the procedure are most difficult to learn, and to measure rate of intraoperative complications.
This was a prospective observational study.
Phacoemulsification surgery was divided into steps and each step was given a proficiency grade by the attending consultant. All intraoperative complications were recorded and analyzed.
200 cases performed by the Eastern Province ophthalmology program residents were evaluated. The most commonly encountered difficulty factors were hard nucleus (20.7%), small pupil (12.6%), and white cataract (10.3%). Capsulorhexis, nucleus disassembly and removal, and cortex removal were the most difficult steps to learn. General complication rate was 17.5%, and posterior capsular rupture was the most common complication (40%). Proficiency more than 90% of the time in each step was noted in residents with prior experience of more than 40 cases, except for nucleus disassembly.
The study showed that nucleus disassembly remained the major obstacle in the residents’ exponential learning curve of phacoemulsification surgery. Majority of complications occurred at level of capsulorhexis and cortical removal steps.

© 2020 Al-Jindan et al.