Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery versus standard phacoemulsification cataract surgery: outcomes and safety in more than 4000 cases at a single center

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2015 Jan;41(1):47-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2014.06.025. Epub 2014 Nov 11.


Purpose: To compare the intraoperative complications and safety of femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery and conventional phacoemulsification cataract surgery.

Setting: Single center.

Design: Prospective consecutive comparative cohort case series.

Methods: Eyes had femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (study group) or phacoemulsification (control group) by 1 of 5 surgeons. The technique comprised manual corneal incisions and capsulorhexis or laser-assisted anterior capsulotomy, lens fragmentation, corneal incisions, phacoemulsification, and intraocular lens implantation.

Results: The study group comprised 1852 eyes and the control group, 2228 eyes. Patient demographics were similar between groups. There was a significant improvement in vacuum/docking attempts, surface recognition adjustments, treatment, and vacuum time during the laser procedure in the study group. Anterior capsule tears occurred in 1.84% of eyes in the study group and 0.22% of eyes in the control group (P < .0001). There was no difference in the incidence of anterior capsule tears between the first half and second half of laser-assisted cases. Anterior capsulotomy tags occurred in 1.62% study group eyes. There was no significant difference in posterior capsule tears between the 2 groups (0.43% versus 0.18%). The incidence of significant intraoperative corneal haze and miosis was higher and the effective phacoemulsification time significantly lower in the study group (P < .001).

Conclusions: Significant intraoperative complications likely to affect refractive outcomes and patient satisfaction were low overall. The 2 cataract surgery techniques appear to be equally safe. Although anterior capsule tears remain a concern, the safety of femtosecond-assisted cataract surgery in terms of posterior capsule complications was equal to that of phacoemulsification.

Financial disclosure: No author has a financial or proprietary interest in any material or method mentioned.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cataract Extraction*
  • Corneal Pachymetry
  • Corneal Topography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular*
  • Male
  • Phacoemulsification / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pseudophakia / physiopathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity / physiology