Phacoemulsification versus manual small-incision cataract surgery for white cataract

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2010 Nov;36(11):1849-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2010.05.025.


Purpose: To compare the safety and efficacy of phacoemulsification and manual small-incision cataract surgery (SICS) to treat white cataracts in southern India.

Setting: Aravind Eye Hospital, Pondicherry, India.

Design: Randomized prospective study.

Methods: Consecutive patients with white cataract were randomly assigned to have phacoemulsification or manual SICS by 1 of 3 surgeons experienced in both techniques. Surgical complications, operative time, uncorrected (UDVA) and corrected (CDVA) distance visual acuities, and surgically induced astigmatism were compared.

Results: On the first postoperative day, the UDVA was comparable in the 2 groups (P = .805) and the manual SICS group had less corneal edema (10.2%) than the phacoemulsification group (18.7%) (P = .047). At 6 weeks, the UDVA was 20/60 or better in 99 patients (87.6%) in the phacoemulsification group and 96 patients (82.0%) in the manual SICS group (P = .10) and the CDVA was 20/60 or better in 112 (99.0%) and 115 (98.2%), respectively (P = .59). The mean time was statistically significantly shorter in the manual SICS group (8.8 minutes ± 3.4 [SD]) than in the phacoemulsification group (12.2 ± 4.6 minutes) (P<.001). Posterior capsule rupture occurred in 3 eyes (2.2%) in the phacoemulsification group and 2 eyes (1.4%) in the manual SICS group (P = .681).

Conclusions: Both techniques achieved excellent visual outcomes with low complication rates. Because manual SICS is significantly faster, less expensive, and less technology-dependent than phacoemulsification, it may be a more appropriate technique in eyes with mature cataract in the developing world.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cataract / complications
  • Cataract Extraction / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Male
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phacoemulsification / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity / physiology