Purpose: To compare the effects of extracapsular cataract extraction with posterior chamber intraocular lens (ECCE/PC-IOL) vs intracapsular cataract extraction with aphakic glasses (ICCE-AG) on everyday visual functioning and quality of life.
Methods: In a nonmasked randomized controlled clinical trial, 3,400 bilateral vision-impaired patients, aged 40 to 75 years, with operable cataract were randomly assigned to receive one of the two treatment options. One half in each group were randomly selected for interviewer administration of visual functioning and quality of life questionnaires before surgery and at 6 and 12 months after surgery.
Results: Both ICCE-AG and ECCE/PC-IOL produced dramatic improvements in visual functioning and quality of life scores. Patients receiving ECCE/PC-IOL reported larger beneficial changes than did those receiving ICCE-AG, compatible with additional beneficial effects of a moderate magnitude for visual functioning and of a smaller beneficial magnitude for quality of life. All between-group differences were highly statistically significant (P < .00001). The additional benefits of ECCE/PC-IOL are not explained by visual acuity differences. A higher proportion of patients in the ICCE-AG group reported problems on a vision problem checklist at 6 months (more than 50%) than did patients in the ECCE/PC-IOL group (approximately 30%).
Conclusions: In this developing-country setting, ICCE-AG and ECCE/PC-IOL were associated with substantial benefits in improved everyday vision function and vision-related quality of life. Patients who received ECCE/PC-IOL reported greater benefits and fewer problems with vision than did patients who received ICCE-AG.