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Phacoemulsification. By Ian Andersen. History - Kelman. Charles D. Kelman (May 23, 1930 – June 1, 2004). Born in Brooklyn, NY Boston’s Tufts University University of Geneva, Switz. – M.D. Residency in Ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital Inspired by dentist’s ultrasonic tools

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By Ian Andersen

History kelman
History - Kelman

Charles D. Kelman (May 23, 1930 – June 1, 2004)

  • Born in Brooklyn, NY

  • Boston’s Tufts University

  • University of Geneva, Switz. – M.D.

  • Residency in Ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital

  • Inspired by dentist’s ultrasonic tools

  • President of The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons


Deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye.

Greek roots: ophthalmosand logos

“the science of the eyes”


Indian surgeon Sushruta (800 BC) described 76 ocular diseases (of these 51 surgical) as well as several ophthalmological surgical instruments and techniques.

Pre-Hippocrates, Greek physician Galen, Medieval Islam, 17th and 18th centuries.

The first ophthalmic surgeon in G.B. was John Freke, who was so good, that his skill legitimized the field.


  • Ophthalmologists are physicians (M.D. or D.O.)

  • Completed a college degree, medical school, and residency in ophthalmology. Note: Ophthalmology was the first branch of medicine to offer board certifications, which is now a standard.

  • Most ophthalmologists train in medical residency programs accredited by the:

    ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) ADA (American Osteopathic Association)

    and are board-certified by the:

    ABO (American Board of Ophthalmology)

    AOBOO (American Osteopathic Board of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology)

Cataract surgery
Cataract Surgery

In 1962, Kelman devised the cryo-probe, a freezing instrument for the extraction of cataracts.

Cataract surgery1
Cataract Surgery

Removal of the lens of the eye (also called crystalline) that has developed opacification, called a cataract.

The lens is made of mostly water and protein. As we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud areas of the eye.

Opaque – Not transparent or translucent, impenetrable to light

Cataract surgery2
Cataract Surgery

It’s not known for sure why the eye’s lens changes, but there are identified factors.

  • Ultraviolet radiation from the sun

  • Diabetes

  • Hypertension

  • Obesity

  • Smoking

  • Prolonged use of corticosteroids

  • Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol

  • Eye injury or inflammation

  • Hormone replacement therapy

  • Alcoholism

  • Genetics

  • High nearsightedness

Cataract surgery3
Cataract Surgery

Two main types:

Phacoemulsification (Phaco)

Extra-capsular cataract extraction (ECCE)

In both types, an intraocular lens is inserted.


  • Phaco – Lens/Lens-shaped

  • Emulsion - A colloidal suspension of a liquid in another liquid.

  • Colloidal – a substance made up of a system of particles with linear dimensions dispersed in a continuous gaseous, liquid, or solid medium.


Preferred method in most cases. It involves the use of a machine with an ultrasonic hand-piece with a titanium or steel tip. The tip vibrates at ultrasonic frequency (40,000 Hz) and the lens material is emulsified. A second fine instrument (called a cracker or chopper) may be used from a side port to break the nucleus into smaller pieces.


After the cataract is emulsified, a dual irrigation-aspiration (I-A) probe or bimanual I-A system is used to aspirate our the remaining peripheral cortical material.

Aspiration – drawing something in, out, up, or through as if by suction


  • Most often done in an ASC.

  • Use of antibiotic drops 1 – 3 days prior to surgery.

  • May be accompanied by lid scrubs to further clear potential contaminants.

  • May also be required to start preoperative anti-inflammatory drops, and/or dilating drops in the eye days leading up to surgery.

  • For the morning of the surgery, no food/beverages, and someone to pick you up after you are done.


The Actual Thing!

Most Descriptive