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How Berger discovered the retrolental space and its late implications for modern femtosecond laser cataract surgery

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Session Details

Session Title: Presented Poster Session: FLACS

Session Date/Time: Monday 07/09/2015 | 15:00-16:30

Paper Time: 16:00

Venue: Poster Village: Pod 1

First Author: : K.Gerstmeyer GERMANY

Co Author(s): :    S. Scholtz   F. Kretz   G. Auffarth        

Abstract Details


The detailed knowledge of the anatomy of the retrolental space and the identification of “Berger´s Space” by optical coherence tomography are essential requirements for a successful posterior laser-assisted capsulotomy . The term “Berger´s Space” and its importance are not well known to many ophthalmologists even today. This poster will reflect the biography of the Austrian ophthalmologist Emil Berger (1855-1926) and the first description of “Berger´s Space”.


K. Gerstmeyer, Eye Clinic Johannes Wesling Klinikum Minden S. Scholtz, International Vision Correction Research Centre (IVCRC), University Heidelberg F. Kretz, International Vision Correction Research Centre (IVCRC), University Heidelberg G.U. Auffarth, University Eye Clinic Heidelberg


Selective literature research of books and articles in journals via PubMed, Google Scholar and Google, additionally analysis and summary of personal direct literature search


Berger was born in Vienna in 1855 where he started to study medicine as a pupil of Jäger, continuing in Halle (von Graefe) and in Berlin (Hirschberg). In 1896 he founded an eye clinic in Paris. His work covered all areas of ophthalmology. He developed binocular stereoscopic magnifying glasses and a keratoscope. In 1887 when examining the postlenticular space, Berger described “a capillary scissure…located between the posterior capsule and the membrane of the vitreous body” and its dilation in cases of iridocyclitis. So far this detailed anatomical relation had not been known. Many ophthalmologists assumed a more or less solid connection between vitreous and posterior capsule.


The clinical significance of “Berger´s space” was quite low when doing intracapsular or extracapsular cataract surgery by phacoemulsification. By performing primary posterior laser assisted capsulotomy an effective option was found to prevent PCO, keeping the hyaloid membrane intact and avoiding YAG iridotomy for the first time.

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