Femtosecond laser-assisted versus phacoemulsification for cataract extraction and intraocular lens implantation: clinical outcomes review

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Purpose of review

Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS) has gained popularity in recent years with the new technology suggesting potential improvements in clinical and safety outcomes over conventional phacoemulsification cataract surgery (PCS). A decade since the advent of FLACS has given time and experience for laser technology to develop in maturity, and better quality evidence to become available. This review evaluates current evidence on the clinical and safety outcomes for FLACS in comparison to PCS.

Recent findings

FLACS technology continues to improve and with it our confidence in tackling more complex patient indications. Concurrently other new technologies such as precision pulse capsulotomy also look to deliver the biomechanically ideal 5.2 mm capsulotomy, particularly as there remain suggestions from large studies and meta-analyses of raised capsular complications with FLACS compared with PCS and IOL technology responding to advantages of a consistent capsulotomy. Visual benefits of FLACS over and above PCS also remain to be conclusively demonstrated, with equivalence but not superiority. Economic modelling continues to indicate that FLACS remains ‘not’ cost-effective.


FLACS can be considered non-inferior to conventional PCS in term of safety and clinical outcomes. However, FLACS has yet to demonstrate an overall cost–benefit to the patient.

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