Purpose: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of extracapsular cataract extraction with posterior chamber intraocular lens (ECCE/PC-IOL) compared with intracapsular cataract extraction with aphakic glasses (ICCE-AG).
Methods: In a nonmasked randomized controlled clinical trial, 3,400 bilaterally vision-impaired patients aged 40 to 75 years with operable cataract were randomly assigned to receive either ICCE-AG or ECCE/PC-IOL at the Aravind Eye Hospital in India. The surgery was performed by one of four study surgeons. Patients were hospitalized for 5 postoperative days, with follow-up visits at 2, 6, and 12 months after discharge. Postsurgery evaluations were conducted by two independent study ophthalmologists.
Results: At any single postoperative follow-up time point, there were no statistically significant differences of clinical relevance between treatment groups for any complication of a serious nature except cystoid macular edema, which was more common with ICCE (4.2% vs 1.6%). In general, whether of a trivial, intermediate, or serious nature, complication rates were low at each evaluation time point. Cumulatively, the incidence of serious complications of all types throughout the 1-year study period was 14.5% for patients in the ICCE-AG group and 7.7% in the ECCE group (P < .001). Best-corrected visual acuity of 20/40 or better at 12 months was attained by 90.7% of ICCE-AG patients and 96.3% of ECCE/PC-IOL patients (P < .001).
Conclusion: Although both operative procedures are safe and effective for cataract patients with bilateral impairment, ECCE/PC-IOL is superior to ICCE-AG in terms of both visual acuity restoration and safety.