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Cataract surgery at present is divisible into two general techniques: manual extracapsular cataract extraction and phacoemulsification – with ECCE further separated into the traditional form and small-incision cataract surgery. This review will discuss updates in surgical techniques, outcome comparisons, cost analysis, and the continued role of extracapsular cataract extraction in Western countries.Surgical techniques for manual extracapsular cataract extraction have undergone much refinement, with numerous descriptions of techniques in a recent literature. Studies that have emerged in the last several years allow us to compare surgical results between different techniques and suggest that there is little difference in final outcome when each surgery is done well. Overall cost–effectiveness and suitability of each technique vary based on location and facilities.Manual extracapsular cataract extraction (especially small-incision versions) occupies an important place in modern cataract surgery, and, while not a replacement for phacoemulsification in Western countries, should be part of a cataract surgeon's overall skill set.