Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery Versus Phacoemulsification Cataract Surgery (FACT): A Randomized Noninferiority Trial

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PURPOSE: To report the 3-month results of a randomized trial (Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Trial [FACT]) comparing femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS) with standard phacoemulsification cataract surgery (PCS).

DESIGN: Multicenter, randomized controlled trial funded by the UK National Institute of Health Research (HTA 13/04/46/).

PARTICIPANTS: Seven hundred eighty-five patients with age-related cataract.

METHODS: This trial took place in 3 hospitals in the UK National Health Service (NHS). Randomization (1:1) was stratified by site, surgeon, and 1 or both eyes eligible using a secure web-based system. Postoperative assessments were masked to the allocated intervention. The primary outcome was unaided distance visual acuity (UDVA) in the study eye at 3 months. Secondary outcomes included corrected distance visual acuity, complications, and patient-reported outcomes measures. The noninferiority margin was 0.1 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR). ISRCTN.com registry, number ISRCTN77602616.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We enrolled 785 participants between May 2015 and September 2017 and randomly assigned 392 to FLACS and 393 to PCS. At 3 months postoperatively, mean UDVA difference between treatment arms was -0.01 logMAR (-0.05 to 0.03), and mean corrected distance visual acuity difference was -0.01 logMAR (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.05 to 0.02). Seventy-one percent of both FLACS and PCS cases were within ±0.5 diopters (D) of the refractive target, and 93% of FLACS and 92% of PCS cases were within ±1.0 D. There were 2 posterior capsule tears in the PCS arm and none in the FLACS arm. There were no significant differences between arms for any secondary outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery is not inferior to conventional PCS surgery 3 months after surgery. Both methods are as good in terms of vision, patient-reported health, and safety outcomes at 3 months. Longer-term outcomes of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness are awaited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1019
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy/methods
  • Male
  • Phacoemulsification/economics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity


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