Implantation of retropupillar iris claw lenses with and without combined penetrating keratoplasty



For aphakic patients without lens-supporting apparatus, secondary lens implantation can be considered. Literature on retropupillar iris claw lens implantation as a safe alternative to scleral fixated posterior chamber lenses is scarce.


The study included 22 patients. In ten cases, an iris claw lens was implanted retropupillary without penetrating keratoplasty (group 1), in 12 patients the implantation of a retropupillar iris claw lens was combined with penetrating keratoplasty (group 2). Complications observed were retrospectively evaluated. Previous operations and accompanying diseases were compiled. Reasons for aphakia in group1/group 2 included perioperative complications (60%/75%) and primary ocular trauma (40%/25%). Unless already performed in an earlier operation, anterior or complete vitrectomy was performed in both groups.


Perioperative complications (within 1 week postoperatively) in group 1 included ocular hypotony in 20%, choroidal detachment in 10%, vitreous haemorrhage in 10% and intraocular lens (IOL) decentration in 10% of the cases; in group 2, transient intraocular pressure elevation in 8% of the cases. Postoperative complications (after the first postoperative week) in group 1 were lens tilt in 10%, lens luxation in 10%, cellular deposits (assumed to be macrophages) on lens surface in 10%, cornea guttata in 10% and epiretinal gliosis in 10% of the cases; in group 2, secondary glaucoma in 33%, iris defect in 8% and corneal ulcer in 8% of the cases.


Retropupillar iris claw lenses are an alternative to scleral fixated secondary lenses, which are worth considering for aphakic patients without lens supporting apparatus. This approach appears to be recommendable even in cases requiring penetrating keratoplasty, and can be performed as a combined procedure. In these patients, the most frequent complication following iris claw lens implantation seems to be secondary glaucoma.

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Correspondence to Florian Rüfer.

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The authors have no financial interest in any of the products mentioned in the text.

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Rüfer, F., Saeger, M., Nölle, B. et al. Implantation of retropupillar iris claw lenses with and without combined penetrating keratoplasty. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 247, 457 (2009).

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  • Aphakia
  • Secondary lens implantation
  • Iris claw
  • Retropupillar
  • Penetrating keratoplasty
  • Complications