Intraocular lens optic edge design for the prevention of posterior capsule opacification after cataract surgery

Sophie Maedel, Jennifer R Evans, Annette Harrer-Seely, Oliver Findl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Posterior capsule opacification (PCO) is a clouding of the posterior part of the lens capsule, a skin-like transparent structure, which surrounds the crystalline lens in the human eye. PCO is the most common postoperative complication following modern cataract surgery with implantation of a posterior chamber intraocular lens (IOL). The main symptoms of PCO are a decrease in visual acuity, 'cloudy', blurred vision and reduced contrast sensitivity. PCO is treated with a neodymium: YAG (Nd:YAG) laser to create a small opening in the opaque capsule and regain a clear central visual axis. This capsulotomy might cause further ocular complications, such as raised intraocular pressure or swelling of the central retina (macular oedema). This procedure is also a significant financial burden for health care systems worldwide. In recent decades, there have been advances in the selection of IOL materials and optimisation of IOL designs to help prevent PCO formation after cataract surgery. These include changes to the side structures holding the lens in the centre of the lens capsule bag, called IOL haptics, and IOL optic edge designs.
Objectives: To compare the effects of different IOL optic edge designs on PCO after cataract surgery.
Search methods: We searched CENTRAL, Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature Database (LILACS), the ISRCTN registry, and the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) up to17 November 2020.
Selection criteria: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared different types of IOL optic edge design. Our prespecified primary outcome was the proportion of eyes with Nd:YAG capsulotomy one year after surgery. Secondary outcomes included PCO score, best-corrected distance visual acuity (BCDVA) and quality of life score at one year. Due to availability of important long-term data, we also presented data at longer-term follow-up which is a post hoc change to our protocol.
Data collection and analysis: We used standard methods expected by Cochrane and the GRADE approach to assess the certainty of the evidence.
Main results: We included 10 studies (1065 people, 1834 eyes) that compared sharp- and round-edged IOLs. Eight of these studies were within-person studies whereby one eye received a sharp-edged IOL and the fellow eye a round-edged IOL. The IOL materials were acrylic (2 studies),silicone (4 studies), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA, 3 studies) and different materials (1 study). The studies were conducted in Austria, Germany, India, Japan, Sweden and the UK. Five studies were at high risk of bias in at least one domain. We judged two studies to be at low risk of bias in all domains. There were few cases of Nd:YAG capsulotomy at one year (primary outcome): 1/371 in sharp-edged and 4/371 in round-edged groups. The effect estimate was in favour of sharp-edged IOLs but the confidence intervals were very wide and compatible with higher or lower chance of Nd:YAG capsulotomy in sharp-edged compared with round-edged lenses (Peto odds ratio (OR) 0.30, 95% CI 0.05 to 1.74; I2 = 0%; 6 studies,742 eyes). This corresponds to seven fewer cases of Nd:YAG capsulotomy per 1000 sharp-edged IOLs inserted compared with round-edged IOLs (95% CI 9 fewer to 7 more). We judged this as low-certainty evidence, downgrading for imprecision and risk of bias. A similar reduced risk of Nd:YAG capsulotomy in sharp-edge compared with round-edge IOLs was seen at two, three and five years but as the number of Nd:YAG capsulotomy events increased with longer follow-up this effect was more precisely measured at longer follow-up: two years, risk ratio (RR) 0.35 (0.16 to 0.80); 703 eyes (6 studies); 89 fewer cases per 1000; three years, RR 0.21 (0.11 to 0.41); 538 eyes (6studies); 170 fewer cases per 1000; five years, RR 0.21 (0.10 to 0.45); 306 eyes (4 studies); 331 fewer cases per 1000. Data at 9 years and 12years were only available from one study. All studies reported a PCO score. Four studies reported the AQUA (Automated Quantification of After-Cataract) score, four studies reported the EPCO (Evaluation of PCO) score and two studies reported another method of quantifying PCO. It was not possible to pool these data due to the way they were reported, but all studies consistently reported a statistically significant lower average PCO score (of the order of0.5 to 3 units) with sharp-edged IOLs compared with round-edged IOLs. We judged this to be moderate-certainty evidence downgrading for risk of bias. The logMAR visual acuity score was lower (better) in eyes that received a sharp-edged IOL but the difference was small and likely to be clinically unimportant at one year (mean difference (MD) -0.06 logMAR, 95% CI -0.12 to 0; 2 studies, 153 eyes; low-certainty evidence).Similar effects were seen at longer follow-up periods but non-statistically significant data were less fully reported: two years MD -0.01logMAR (-0.05 to 0.02); 2 studies, 311 eyes; three years MD -0.09 logMAR (-0.22 to 0.03); 2 studies, 117 eyes; data at five years only available from one study. None of the studies reported quality of life. Very low-certainty evidence on adverse events did not suggest any important differences between the groups.
Authors' conclusions: This review provides evidence that sharp-edged IOLs are likely to be associated with less PCO formation than round-edged IOLs, with less Nd:YAG capsulotomy. The effects on visual acuity were less certain. The impact of these lenses on quality of life has not been assessed and there are only very low-certainty comparative data on adverse events.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberCD012516
JournalThe Cochrane database of systematic reviews
Issue number8
Early online date16 Aug 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 16 Aug 2021


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