Objective: This review was conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of open-loop anterior chamber, scleral-sutured posterior chamber, and iris-sutured posterior chamber intraocular lenses (IOLs) in eyes with inadequate capsular support for posterior chamber implantation in the capsular bag or ciliary sulcus. It also attempted to determine whether there is a preferred IOL or fixation site of choice in eyes with inadequate capsular support. Methods: A literature search conducted for the years 1980 to 2001 yielded 189 citations related to IOL implantation in the absence of capsular support. An update search, conducted in March 2002, yielded an additional 28 articles. The Anterior Segment Panel members reviewed these abstracts and selected 148 articles of possible clinical relevance for review. Of these, 89 were considered sufficiently clinically relevant for the panel methodologist to review and rate according to the strength of evidence. A level I rating was assigned to properly conducted, well-designed, randomized clinical trials; a level II rating was assigned to well-designed cohort and case-control studies; and a level III rating was assigned to case series. Articles comparing the safety and efficacy of the IOL type and fixation site were further evaluated for the quality of the statistical methods used in the study. Studies with a rating of A or B were considered acceptable, C was borderline, and D and F were considered unacceptable as medical evidence. Results: Forty-three articles with data concerning outcome of IOL insertion in eyes with inadequate capsular support had an evidence rating of level III or higher and were used in the final review of the safety and efficacy of one or more lens types and/or fixation sites. Seven articles had data about more than one lens type. Six had a statistical method rating of C or higher and were used to evaluate differences in visual outcomes and complication rates between lens types and fixation sites. Conclusions: The literature supports the safe and effective use of open-loop anterior chamber, scleral-sutured posterior chamber, and iris-sutured posterior chamber IOLs for the correction of aphakia in eyes without adequate capsular support for placement of a posterior chamber lens in the capsular bag or ciliary sulcus. At this time, there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate the superiority of one lens type or fixation site. Precise determination of small differences in visual outcome or complication rates will require a large prospective, randomized clinical trial.
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