Topic: To investigate the efficacy and safety of femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS) relative to manual cataract surgery (MCS).
Clinical relevance: It is unclear whether FLACS is more efficacious and safe relative to MCS.
Methods: A literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Scopus from 2007 to March 2016 was conducted. Studies containing both FLACS and MCS arms that reported on relevant efficacy and/or safety parameters were included. Weighted mean differences (WMDs) and risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.
Results: From 2802 screened articles, 14 567 eyes from 15 randomized controlled trials and 22 observational cohort studies were included. For primary visual and refractive outcomes, no statistically significant difference was detected between FLACS and MCS in uncorrected distance visual acuity (WMD, -0.02; 95% CI, -0.04 to 0.01; P = 0.19), corrected distance visual acuity (WMD, -0.01; 95% CI, -0.02 to 0.01; P = 0.26), and mean absolute error (WMD, -0.02; 95% CI, -0.07 to 0.04; P = 0.57). In terms of secondary surgical end points, there was a statistically significant difference in favor of FLACS over MCS for effective phacoemulsification time (WMD, -3.03; 95% CI, -3.80 to -2.25; P < 0.001), capsulotomy circularity (WMD, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.11-0.21; P < 0.001), postoperative central corneal thickness (WMD, -6.37; 95% CI, -11.88 to -0.86; P = 0.02), and corneal endothelial cell reduction (WMD, -55.43; 95% CI, -95.18 to -15.69; P = 0.006). There was no statistically significant difference between FLACS and MCS for total surgery time (WMD, 1.25; 95% CI, -0.08 to 2.59; P = 0.07), capsulotomy circularity using a second formula (WMD, 0.05; 95% CI, -0.01 to 0.12; P = 0.10), and corneal endothelial cell count (WMD, 73.39; 95% CI, -6.28 to 153.07; P = 0.07). As well, there was a significantly higher concentration of prostaglandins after FLACS relative to MCS (WMD, 198.34; 95% CI, 129.99-266.69; P < 0.001). Analysis of safety parameters revealed that there were no statistically significant differences in the incidence of overall complications between FLACS and MCS (RR, 2.15; 95% CI, 0.74 to 6.23; P = 0.16); however, posterior capsular tears were significantly more common in FLACS versus MCS (RR, 3.73; 95% CI, 1.50-9.25; P = 0.005).
Conclusions: There were no statistically significant differences detected between FLACS and MCS in terms of patient-important visual and refractive outcomes and overall complications. Although FLACS did show a statistically significant difference for several secondary surgical outcomes, it was associated with higher prostaglandin concentrations and higher rates of posterior capsular tears.
Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.