PURPOSE. To investigate the relative merit of retroillumination and of reflected light slit-lamp– derived photographs in the assessment of the opacification of the posterior lens capsule. METHODS. Retroillumination and slit-lamp–derived reflected-light photographs were taken on 23 consecutive eyes with posterior capsule opacification (PCO) in uncomplicated pseudophakia. Subjective grading was performed on both types of photographs to evaluate the extent and density of posterior capsular opacification. Best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) before and after YAG laser capsulotomy was used to assess the impact of capsular opacification on visual function. RESULTS. After capsulotomy all patients attained a BCVA 46 letters ( 20/32) with a mean increase of 25 letters, indicating that PCO was the cause of visual impairment in these patients. The relative capacity of retroillumination and of reflected-light photographs to adequately capture the extent and the severity of posterior capsule opacification varied considerably. Reflected-light images, in addition to frequently producing higher severity scores for the opacity than retroillumination photographs, in 4 of 23 eyes (17.4%) proved to be the only technique able to document the presence of PCO. CONCLUSIONS. Our results indicate that, with respect to retroillumination images, reflected-light photography has an increased ability to adequately capture the presence and the severity of PCO and that the use of only retroillumination images may lead to its underestimation. This may be relevant to clinical studies aiming to evaluate incidence and progression of this condition.
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