AN analysis of nearly 1,400 eyes of 870 patients participating in the FEMCAT trial comparing femtosecond laser-assisted phacoemulsification cataract surgery with phacoemulsification found no significant differences in overall clinical outcomes, which included complication rates, post-op visual acuity, refractive error and change in corneal astigmatism, Cedric Schweitzer MD, Paris, reported on behalf of the FEMCAT study group.
However, a trend toward better outcomes for lower-grade cataracts was observed in the femto group along with a trend toward better outcomes for the highest-grade cataracts in the phaco group, Dr Schweitzer added.
In surgery, mean total ultrasound time and dissipated energy were lower in the femto group for both lower and higher-grade cataracts, while mean aspiration time and BSS volume were significantly higher in the femto group. No specific issues or complications were observed related to the laser procedure, Dr Schweitzer said.
Funded by the French Ministry of Health, FEMCAT is a large, randomised prospective study designed to assess clinical outcomes and develop an economic model for femto cataract surgery. The results so far do not appear to support a recommendation for payment for femto procedures through public health insurance.
“While ultrasound and energy decrease with femto cataract surgery, innovations are still needed to optimise the significant technical advantage of femtosecond laser over phacoemulsification and provide a clinical benefit for patients,” Dr Schweitzer concluded.