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Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery compared with phacoemulsification: the FACT non-inferiority RCT

Day, AC; Burr, JM; Bennett, K; Hunter, R; Bunce, C; Doré, CJ; Nanavaty, MA; ... Wilkins, MR; + view all (2021) Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery compared with phacoemulsification: the FACT non-inferiority RCT. Health Technology Assessment , 25 (6) pp. 1-68. 10.3310/hta25060. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cataract surgery is one of the most common operations. Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS) is a technique that automates a number of operative steps. OBJECTIVES: To compare FLACS with phacoemulsification cataract surgery (PCS). DESIGN: Multicentre, outcome-masked, randomised controlled non-inferiority trial. SETTING: Three collaborating NHS hospitals. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 785 patients with age-related cataract in one or both eyes were randomised between May 2015 and September 2017. INTERVENTION: FLACS (n = 392 participants) or PCS (n = 393 participants). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was uncorrected distance visual acuity in the study eye after 3 months, expressed as the logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR): 0.00 logMAR (or 6/6 if expressed in Snellen) is normal (good visual acuity). Secondary outcomes included corrected distance visual acuity, refractive outcomes (within 0.5 dioptre and 1.0 dioptre of target), safety and patient-reported outcome measures at 3 and 12 months, and resource use. All trial follow-ups were performed by optometrists who were masked to the trial intervention. RESULTS: A total of 353 (90%) participants allocated to the FLACS arm and 317 (81%) participants allocated to the PCS arm attended follow-up at 3 months. The mean uncorrected distance visual acuity was similar in both treatment arms [0.13 logMAR, standard deviation 0.23 logMAR, for FLACS, vs. 0.14 logMAR, standard deviation 0.27 logMAR, for PCS, with a difference of -0.01 logMAR (95% confidence interval -0.05 to 0.03 logMAR; p = 0.63)]. The mean corrected distance visual acuity values were again similar in both treatment arms (-0.01 logMAR, standard deviation 0.19 logMAR FLACS vs. 0.01 logMAR, standard deviation 0.21 logMAR PCS; p = 0.34). There were two posterior capsule tears in the PCS arm. There were no significant differences between the treatment arms for any secondary outcome at 3 months. At 12 months, the mean uncorrected distance visual acuity was 0.14 logMAR (standard deviation 0.22 logMAR) for FLACS and 0.17 logMAR (standard deviation 0.25 logMAR) for PCS, with a difference between the treatment arms of -0.03 logMAR (95% confidence interval -0.06 to 0.01 logMAR; p = 0.17). The mean corrected distance visual acuity was 0.003 logMAR (standard deviation 0.18 logMAR) for FLACS and 0.03 logMAR (standard deviation 0.23 logMAR) for PCS, with a difference of -0.03 logMAR (95% confidence interval -0.06 to 0.01 logMAR; p = 0.11). There were no significant differences between the arms for any other outcomes, with the exception of the mean binocular corrected distance visual acuity with a difference of -0.02 logMAR (95% confidence interval -0.05 to 0.00 logMAR) (p = 0.036), which favoured FLACS. There were no significant differences between the arms for any health, social care or societal costs. For the economic evaluation, the mean cost difference was £167.62 per patient higher for FLACS (95% of iterations between -£14.12 and £341.67) than for PCS. The mean QALY difference (FLACS minus PCS) was 0.001 (95% of iterations between -0.011 and 0.015), which equates to an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (cost difference divided by QALY difference) of £167,620. LIMITATIONS: Although the measurement of outcomes was carried out by optometrists who were masked to the treatment arm, the participants were not masked. CONCLUSIONS: The evidence suggests that FLACS is not inferior to PCS in terms of vision after 3 months' follow-up, and there were no significant differences in patient-reported health and safety outcomes after 12 months' follow-up. In addition, the statistically significant difference in binocular corrected distance visual acuity was not clinically significant. FLACS is not cost-effective. FUTURE WORK: To explore the possible differences in vision in patients without ocular co-pathology. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN77602616. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 25, No. 6. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information. Moorfields Eye Charity (grant references GR000233 and GR000449 for the endothelial cell counter and femtosecond laser used).

Type: Article
Title: Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery compared with phacoemulsification: the FACT non-inferiority RCT
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3310/hta25060
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3310/hta25060
Language: English
Additional information: © Queen’s Printer and Controller of HMSO 2021. This work was produced by Day et al. under the terms of a commissioning contract issued by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. This issue may be freely reproduced for the purposes of private research and study and extracts (or indeed, the full report) may be included in professional journals provided that suitable acknowledgement is made and the reproduction is not associated with any form of advertising.
Keywords: CORRECTED DISTANCE VISUAL ACUITY, FEMTOSECOND LASER-ASSISTED CATARACT SURGERY, INCREMENTAL COST-EFFECTIVENESS RATIO, LAY ADVISORY GROUP, LOG OF THE MINIMUM ANGLE OF RESOLUTION, PHACOEMULSIFICATION CATARACT SURGERY, QUALITY-ADJUSTED LIFE-YEAR, UNAIDED DISTANCE VISUAL ACUITY
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > Comprehensive CTU at UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10120523
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