In Water Thermal Imaging Comparison of the Alcon Legacy and AMO Sovereign Phacoemulsification Systems§

Kevin M. Miller*, #, Michael D. Olson
Jules Stein Eye Institute and the Department of Ophthalmology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA

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Creative Commons License
2008 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Ophthalmology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Jules Stein Eye Institute, Los Angeles, California 90095-7002, USA; E-mail:
§ Presented in part at the annual meetings of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
# Dr. Miller is the Kolokotrones Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at UCLA.



To compare the temperature profiles of 2 popular phacoemulsification units under similar operating conditions in water.


The phacoemulsification probes of the Sovereign WhiteStar and Legacy AdvanTec were capped with water-filled test chambers and imaged side-by-side using a thermal camera. The highest temperature of each chamber was measured at several time points after power application. Testing was performed under conditions capable of producing a corneal burn. The Legacy was operated in pulse mode at 15 Hz; a 50% duty cycle; and console power settings of 10, 30, 50 and 100%. The Sovereign was operated at the same console settings in WhiteStar C/F pulse mode at 56 Hz and a 33% duty cycle.


Under all conditions (powers of 10, 30, 50 and 100%; with or without irrigation/aspiration flow; and with or without sleeve compression), the Sovereign generated higher temperatures than the Legacy. At irrigation/aspiration flow rates ≥ 5 cc/min, the temperature profiles of the 2 units were indistinguishable.


The Sovereign WhiteStar ran hotter than the Legacy AdvanTec under a variety of controlled low flow operating conditions. The Sovereign WhiteStar is more likely than the Legacy AdvanTec to produce a corneal burn under low flow conditions.