Cost Utility and Value of Information Analysis of Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery

JAMA Ophthalmol. 2023 Jul 1;141(7):625-629. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2023.1716.


Importance: The efficacy and safety of femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery is well documented. An important requirement for decision makers is the evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS) over a sufficiently long horizon. Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of this treatment was a preplanned secondary objective of the Economic Evaluation of Femtosecond Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery (FEMCAT) trial.

Objective: To estimate the cost utility of FLACS compared with phacoemulsification cataract surgery (PCS) on a 12-month time horizon.

Design, setting, and participants: This multicenter randomized clinical trial compared FLACS with PCS in parallel groups. All FLACS procedures were performed using the CATALYS precision system. Participants were recruited and treated in ambulatory surgery settings in 5 university-hospital centers in France. All consecutive patients eligible for a unilateral or bilateral cataract surgery 22 years or older with written informed consent were included. Data were collected from October 2013 to October 2018, and data were analyzed from January 2020 to June 2022.

Interventions: FLACS or PCS.

Main outcomes and measures: Utility was measured through the Health Utility Index questionnaire. Costs of cataract surgery were estimated by microcosting. All inpatient and outpatient costs were collected from the French National Health Data System.

Results: Of 870 randomized patients, 543 (62.4%) were female, and the mean (SD) age at surgery was 72.3 (8.6) years. A total of 440 patients were randomized to receive FLACS and 430 to receive PCS; the rate of bilateral surgery was 63.3% (551 of 870). The mean (SD) costs of cataract surgery were €1124.0 (€162.2; US $1235) for FLACS and €565.5 (€61.4; US $621) for PCS. The total mean (SD) cost of care at 12 months was €7085 (€6700; US $7787) in participants treated with FLACS and €6502 (€7323; US $7146) in participants treated with PCS. FLACS yielded a mean (SD) of 0.788 (0.009) quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and PCS yielded 0.792 (0.009) QALYs. The difference in mean costs was €545.9 (95% CI, -434.1 to 1525.8; US $600), and the difference in QALYs was -0.004 (95% CI, -0.028 to 0.021). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was -€136 476 (US $150 000) per QALY. The cost-effectiveness probability of FLACS compared with PCS was 15.7% for a cost-effectiveness threshold of €30 000 (US $32 973) per QALY. At this threshold, the expected value of perfect information was €246 139 079 (US $270 530 231).

Conclusions and relevance: The ICER of FLACS compared with PCS was not within the $50 000 to $100 000 per QALY range frequently cited as cost-effective. Additional research and development on FLACS is needed to improve its effectiveness and lower its price.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT01982006.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cataract Extraction* / methods
  • Cataract*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy* / methods
  • Lasers
  • Male
  • Phacoemulsification* / methods
  • Visual Acuity

Associated data