Purpose: To evaluate macular photostress and visual experience between coaxial microscope illumination versus oblique intracameral illumination during cataract surgery. Setting: Gachon University Gil Hospital, Incheon, South Korea. Design: Prospective case series. Methods: Consecutive patients who had cataract surgery using microscope illumination and intracameral illumination were included. The patients were asked to complete a questionnaire (seeing strong lights, feeling photophobia, feeling startled (fright) when seeing lights, seeing any colors, seeing any instruments or surgical procedures, and estimating intraoperative visual function) designed to describe their cataract surgery experience. The images projected on the retina of the model eye (rear view) with artificial opaque fragments in the anterior chamber during simulating cataract surgery were compared between the 2 illumination types. Results: Sixty patients completed the questionnaire. Scores for strong lights, photophobia, fright, and color perception were significantly higher with microscope illumination than with intracameral illumination (all P <.001). More patients preferred the intracameral illumination (45 [75.0%]) to the microscope illumination (13 [21.7%]). In the rear-view images created in a model eye, only the bright microscope light in the center was seen without any lens image in the microscope illumination. However, in the intracameral illumination, the less bright light from the light pipe in the periphery and the lens fragments were seen more clearly. Conclusions: In a view of the patients' visual experience, oblique intracameral illumination caused less subjective photostress and was preferred over coaxial microscope illumination. Objective findings from the model-eye experiment correlated to the result of visual experience.
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