Purpose: A systematic review and meta-analysis comparing the safety, efficacy, and expenses related to phacoemulsification versus manual small incision cataract surgery (SICS).
Methods: PubMed, Cochrane, and Scopus databases were searched with key words manual SICS 6/18 and 6/60; astigmatism and endothelial cell loss postoperatively, intra- and post-operative complications, phacoemulsification, and comparison of SICS and phacoemulsification. Non-English language manuscripts and manuscripts not indexed in the three databases were also search for comparison of SICS with phacoemulsification. Data were compared between techniques for postoperative uncorrected and corrected distance visual acuity (UCVA and best corrected visual acuity [BCVA], respectively) better than 6/9, surgical cost and duration of surgery. The Oxford cataract treatment and evaluation team scores were used for grading intraoperative and postoperative complications, uncorrected near vision.
Result: This review analyzed, 11 comparative studies documenting 76,838 eyes that had undergone cataract surgery considered for analysis. UCVA of 6/18 UCVA and 6/18 BCVA were comparable between techniques (P = 0.373 and P = 0.567, respectively). BCVA of 6/9 was comparable between techniques (P = 0.685). UCVA of 6/60 and 6/60 BCVA aided and unaided vision were comparable (P = 0.126 and P = 0.317, respectively). There was no statistical difference in: Endothelial cell loss during surgery (P = 0.298), intraoperative (P = 0.964) complications, and postoperative complications (P = 0.362). The phacoemulsification group had statistically significantly less astigmatism (P = 0.005) and more eyes with UCVA of 6/9 (P = 0.040). UCVA at near was statistically significantly better with SICS due to astigmatism and safer during the learning phase (P = 0.003). The average time for SICS was lower than phacoemulsification and cost <½ of phacoemulsification.
Conclusion: The outcome of this meta-analysis indicated there is no difference between phacoemulsification and SICS for BCVA and UCVA of 6/18 and 6/60. Endothelial cell loss and intraoperative and postoperative complications were similar between procedures. SICS resulted in statistically greater astigmatism and UCVA of 6/9 or worse, however, near UCVA was better.
Keywords: Astigmatism; Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery; Meta-Analysis; Phacoemulsification; Vision Outcome.