Bridging the gap between basic science and clinical practice: the Laboratory Science section : Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery

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Bridging the gap between basic science and clinical practice: the Laboratory Science section

Werner, Liliana MD, PhD

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Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery 49(1):p 1-2, January 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/j.jcrs.0000000000001095
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Science is part of the reality of living; it is the what, the how, and the why of everything in our experience.

—Rachel Carson

The first Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery (JCRS) issue of the new millennium (January 2000) introduced a new section to our journal, Laboratory Science, with the goal to be “devoted to experimental work related to cataract and refractive surgery.”1 Since then, approximately 700 articles have been published within this section. A recent analysis of the top 50 cited JCRS articles (2000–2021) revealed that 12% of those were Laboratory Science studies, which include the article by Wollensak et al. on the biomechanical effect of combined riboflavin–UV-A treatment on porcine and human corneas, the second most cited article in the top 50 list.2 This particular study was the object of one of a series of guest editorials published in 2021 commemorating the 25th anniversary of the joint ASCRS/ESCRS journal, looking back at JCRS landmark articles.3

We have learned so much from this section, and in so many areas, including the etiology of complications, preventative methods, and how devices used in anterior segment diagnostics and surgery work and how they can be optimized, to cite just a few. A special JCRS award has been recently created to highlight this section. As with the other awards (the Obstbaum Award for the Best Original Article and the Rosen Award for the Best Technical Article), the Mamalis Award for the Best Laboratory Science Article will be presented yearly during the ASCRS/ESCRS annual meetings, at the semiannual JCRS Symposium, to the authors of a paper selected by the JCRS editors. It is noteworthy that a special page is currently being created on the journal website dedicated to the article award winners. These articles are also permanently unlocked (granted open access to readers) and receive promotion on social media. The first award was presented in 2022 for a 2021 article by Zdral et al., which dealt with the issue of postoperative toric intraocular lens (IOL) rotation.4 Toric IOLs have been shown to rotate out of their intended position postoperatively in a small but significant number of cases, and a rotation greater than 10 degrees will reduce the intended astigmatism correction by approximately 33%, usually requiring surgical repositioning.5 As some authors suggested that a capsular tension ring (CTR) may limit the rotation of a toric IOL, Zdral et al. evaluated the rotational stability of 2 types of toric IOLs in a study using cadaver eyes, with and without the presence of a CTR.4,6 Results from 10 eyes of 5 donors showed that rotational stability improved with a standard CTR, and further improvement was statistically observed with a newly modified CTR (Morcher Zdral-Henderson CTR with 17 indentations in a sinusoidal pattern) under all test conditions. This was true for both IOLs used (Alcon AcrySof and Johnson & Johnson Vision Tecnis toric IOLs), with or without ophthalmic viscosurgical device, and for either clockwise or counterclockwise rotations.

The current issue features 2 Laboratory Science articles. In the first study, Naujokaitis et al. (page 84) compared the performance on the optical bench of a system of 2 binocularly optimized IOLs, specifically designed to complement each other for presbyopia correction, with an established trifocal IOL, and simulated their binocular image quality. The authors found the new complementary IOL system may yield better monocular intermediate visual acuity compared with the conventional lens, but further investigation is necessary to better understand the effect of binocular summation regarding visual acuity and the perception of photic phenomena. In the second study, Suzuki et al. (page 91) evaluated the responsiveness of 3 phacoemulsification and aspiration systems and a new handpiece to occlusion break by measuring anterior chamber depth and intraocular pressure (IOP) in a model using enucleated fresh porcine eyes. Results showed the new handpiece, incorporating an irrigation pressure sensor that quickly detects IOP changes in the anterior chamber and stabilizes IOP during surgery, contributed to anterior chamber depth stability even when occlusion occurred, suggesting its usefulness in cataract surgery with low IOP.

Based on the abovementioned articles, the best candidates for the JCRS Laboratory Science section are studies within the realm of applied or translational research, including in silico, in vitro, ex vivo, or in vivo studies that use the “bench” to more directly address important clinical/surgical issues in anterior segment surgery. While basic science articles are also included within this section, reviewers and editors may sometimes recommend their submission to more targeted visual science journals. JCRS has published articles and editorials on developing appropriate research articles, with principles and tips that can be used in clinical and nonclinical research.7–9 Whenever appropriate, it is important to add information in Laboratory Science articles on the limitations of the model or on the extent to which the model used in a nonclinical investigation can be correlated to the corresponding clinical scenario. Considering the JCRS readership, overwhelmingly composed of clinicians/surgeons (ASCRS/ESCRS members), inclusion of a brief definition or explanation of terms and techniques that may not necessarily be familiar to them will enhance their understanding and enjoyment of the study.

Twenty-three years after its introduction, I would like to renew the call for submissions to the JCRS Laboratory Science section. As a codirector of a laboratory focused on translational research related to implantable ocular biodevices, I fully recognize the significance of Laboratory Science articles in closing the gap between the work of basic scientists and that of anterior segment clinicians/surgeons. This journal section will continue to help advance our field in many ways, and I look forward to its bright future.


1. Kohnen T. Introduction of a new section: laboratory science. J Cataract Refract Surg 2000;26:1
2. Wollensak G, Spoerl E, Seiler T. Stress-strain measurements of human and porcine corneas after riboflavin-ultraviolet-A-induced cross-linking. J Cataract Refract Surg 2003;29:1780–1785
3. Seiler T. Keratoconus and corneal crosslinking. J Cataract Refract Surg 2021;47:289–290
4. Zdral J, Werner L, Mamalis N, Bontu S, Kennedy S, Henderson BA. Rotational stability of toric intraocular lenses with a newly modified capsular tension ring. J Cataract Refract Surg 2021;47:516–521
5. Lee BS, Chang DF. Comparison of the rotational stability of two toric intraocular lenses in 1273 consecutive eyes. Ophthalmology 2018;125:1325–1331
6. Tataru CP, Dogaroiu AC, Tataru CI, Dogaroiu C. Enhancing rotational stability of toric intraocular lenses using a type 2L Cionni capsular tension ring in patients with high myopia. J Cataract Refract Surg 2019;45:1219–1221
7. Cartwright VA, McGhee CN. Ophthalmology and vision science research. Part 1: understanding and using journal impact factors and citation indices. J Cataract Refract Surg 2005;31:1999–2007
8. McGhee CN, Gilhotra AK. Ophthalmology and vision science research: part 2: how to commence research—eureka or that's a little unusual? J Cataract Refract Surg 2005;31:2205–2211
9. Kohnen T. The red thread: tips on how to publish a paper with impact. J Cataract Refract Surg 2021;47:1253–1254
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