Hydrogen (H2) has been reported to scavenge free radicals, particularly the hydroxyl radical (·OH). Ultrasound oscillation in an aqueous solution produces ·OH. Our recent study demonstrated that H2 dissolved in an irrigation solution prevented corneal endothelial damage during phacoemulsification in an animal model. We examined the effects of H2 during clinical phacoemulsification.
Thirty-two patients who had cataracts of similar nucleus hardness in both eyes (age: 75.4±7.68 years; 17 males, 15 females) were recruited. Phacoemulsification was performed using a solution of dissolved H2 in one eye, and a conventional solution in the contralateral eye. Endothelial cell density (ECD) at the center of the cornea was measured using noncontact specular microscopy preoperatively and at 1 day, 1 week, and 3 weeks postoperatively.