Effect of low and passive flow on OVD thermal properties during phacoemulsification



      To study the thermal properties and response magnitude of a forced-infusion phacoemulsification machine on 4 ophthalmic viscosurgical devices (OVDs).


      Experimental study.


      A phacoemulsification tip, thermocouple, and gauge were placed into an artificial anterior chamber with balanced saline solution (BSS) or approximately 0.1 mL of OVD. Once the thermocouple measured a consistent temperature, the pedal was engaged for 60 seconds; then the tip was removed. The machine was cooled for 5 minutes and flushed with BSS to return to baseline. This was repeated 10 times for each OVD. The research consisted of 2 scenarios: vacuum-blocked flow rate and low aspiration flow rate.


      All OVDs showed greater temperature changes than BSS. In the vacuum-blocked scenario, these increases were statistically significant. The medium viscosity dispersive OVD (DiscoVisc) reached temperatures exceeding 60°C. In the low-flow scenario, HEALON5 and DisCoVisc were significantly different at 5 seconds and only HEALON5 at 10 seconds. No temperature increases over BSS were greater than 1.0°C.


      The dispersive, cohesive, and viscoadaptive OVDs demonstrated higher temperature changes than BSS but did not reach the threshold for corneal incision contracture. The study team verified the need for at least a minimal flow rate before ultrasound, which is especially evident in the first 10 seconds, because a flow rate of only 20 mL/minute mitigated OVD-related thermal effects. Understanding thermal responses enables corneal incision contracture risk reduction.
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