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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Apr 18;(4):CD008811. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008811.pub2.

Manual small incision cataract surgery (MSICS) with posterior chamber intraocular lens versus extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) with posterior chamber intraocular lens for age-related cataract.

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Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore, Singapore.



Age-related cataract is the opacification of the lens, which occurs as a result of denaturation of lens proteins. Age-related cataract remains the leading cause of blindness globally, except in the most developed countries. A key question is what is the best way of removing the lens, especially in lower income settings.


To compare two different techniques of lens removal in cataract surgery: manual small incision surgery (MSICS) and extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE).


We searched CENTRAL (which contains the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group Trials Register) (The Cochrane Library 2012, Issue 1), MEDLINE (January 1950 to February 2012), EMBASE (January 1980 to February 2012), Latin American and Caribbean Literature on Health Sciences (LILACS) (January 1982 to February 2012), Web of Science Conference Proceedings Citation Index- Science (CPCI-S), the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) (, ( and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) ( There were no date or language restrictions in the electronic searches for trials. The electronic databases were last searched on 14 February 2012.


We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) only. Participants in the trials were people with age-related cataract. We included trials where MSICS with a posterior chamber intraocular lens (IOL) implant was compared to ECCE with a posterior chamber IOL implant.


Data were collected independently by two authors. We aimed to collect data on presenting visual acuity 6/12 or better and best-corrected visual acuity of less than 6/60 at three months and one year after surgery. Other outcomes included intraoperative complications, long-term complications (one year or more after surgery), quality of life, and cost-effectiveness. There were not enough data available from the included trials to perform a meta-analysis.


Three trials randomly allocating people with age-related cataract to MSICS or ECCE were included in this review (n = 953 participants). Two trials were conducted in India and one in Nepal. Trial methods, such as random allocation and allocation concealment, were not clearly described; in only one trial was an effort made to mask outcome assessors. The three studies reported follow-up six to eight weeks after surgery. In two studies, more participants in the MSICS groups achieved unaided visual acuity of 6/12 or 6/18 or better compared to the ECCE group, but overall not more than 50% of people achieved good functional vision in the two studies. 10/806 (1.2%) of people enrolled in two trials had a poor outcome after surgery (best-corrected vision less than 6/60) with no evidence of difference in risk between the two techniques (risk ratio (RR) 1.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.45 to 5.55). Surgically induced astigmatism was more common with the ECCE procedure than MSICS in the two trials that reported this outcome. In one study there were more intra- and postoperative complications in the MSICS group. One study reported that the costs of the two procedures were similar.


There are no other studies from other countries other than India and Nepal and there are insufficient data on cost-effectiveness of each procedure. Better evidence is needed before any change may be implemented. Future studies need to have longer-term follow-up and be conducted to minimize biases revealed in this review with a larger sample size to allow examination of adverse events.

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