AIM: To compare the benefits and potential harms of routine phacoemulsification (phaco) alone and combined surgery with goniosynechialysis (GSL) for angle-closure glaucoma (ACG) and coexisting lens opacity, as shown in different randomized controlled trials (RCTs). METHODS: A systematic review was conducted searching several databases including PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, ClinicalTrials.gov from the inception to September 2018 for RCTs with data published on the effects and safety of phaco and intraocular lens implantation combined with GSL or routine cataract surgery alone. Several studies were recruited which reported data at baselines and postoperative follow-up, including the mean values of postoperative intraocular pressure (IOP) and mean numbers of anti-glaucoma medications using postoperatively. The numbers of complications happening were also included. Fixed-effect and random-effect models were applied, and the quality of evidence was evaluated. RESULTS: Analysis of the seven included RCTs, with a total number of 321 participants (358 eyes) diagnosed with ACG and cataract, received a solo procedure (phaco group) or a combined surgery (phaco-GSL group) randomly, and follow-up periods ranging from 2 to 12mo postoperatively. The involved studies showed that the mean value of IOP between the two groups at 3 (four studies, one study follow-up at 2mo postoperative was included), 6, 12mo postoperative were not significantly different. Only two studies reported the change in IOP value at 12mo compared with baseline but showed no significant differences between the two interventions. Although three studies did not have the significant difference in the number of medications using to reduce IOP at 3mo postoperatively, two studies reported that the participants using fewer anti-glaucoma medications at 12mo postoperative in the phaco group than in the phaco-GSL surgery group. CONCLUSION: The analysis provides a low to moderate-quality evidence that phaco-GSL surgery lead to an equivalent IOP-lowering effect. The phaco-GSL surgery may not help patients to reduce the consumption of anti-glaucoma eyedrops in the long period. The results of this analysis suggested that additional GSL may not be necessary for primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG) patients. Further studies, especially RCTs with more participants and longer follow-up time were needed to provide more sufficient data.