Ophthalmic Procedures
Labelled Diagram of the Eye

A capsulorrhexis (sometimes spelt capsulorhexis) is a common name for a a surgical procedure in which a continuous circular tear (rather than just an incision) is made in the capsule that encloses the lens of the eye. This capsule encloses the lens, separating it from the aqueous humour in front of , or "anterior to" the lens, and the vitreous humour behind, or "posterior to" the lens. Note that the word-stem "capsulo-" refers to the capsule, a useful start in recognising and understanding this and related terms.

The capsulorrhexis procedure is also known by the more technically exact term: Continuous Curvilinear Capsulorhexis, or CCC for short.

The context of this procedure is generally to remove the lens from its capsule, during cataract surgery. That is, removal of cataracts using modern techniques involves opening the lens capsule (to remove just the lens), as compared with the older technique (called "intracapsular cataract extraction") in which the whole lens and capsule were removed. Modern techniques enable removal of most cataract material while leaving the capsule itself otherwise intact. That is useful because the capsule forms a barrier between the front and back of the eye, hence preventing the vitreous humour from moving forwards. Modern techniques therefore enable the artificial intraocular lens (introduced during cataract surgery) to be ideally located in the eye, i.e. held securely in place yet away from contact with other structures.

The capsulorrhexis technique is said to have the benefit (over a capsulotomy) of leaving the residual capsule more resistant to tearing during surgery. However, these methods are not directly comparable as they may be performed for different reasons and as a part of different overall procedures.

More about Ophthalmology:

This section includes short definitions of many diseases, disorders, and conditions of the eyes and visual system.
For definitions of other terms in this category, choose from the list to the left (but note that this is not a complete/exhaustive list).

Other related pages include

For further information see also our pages of books about ophthalmology.

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