Study shows different standards of care for cataract patients living in rural vs. urban areas of northern Germany
ATHENS, Greece — A study conducted in Schleswig Holstein, the northernmost federal state of Germany, showed lower standards of care for cataract patients in rural areas compared with urban regions, mainly related to poor and often delayed access to ophthalmological services.
“In this part of Germany there are only a few cities surrounded by countryside, where medical services are structurally weaker,” Tim Herbst, MBA, said at the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons winter meeting.
Data were collected within the Quality Net Bellevue database, a cooperation between the Eye Hospital Bellevue in Kiev and 44 local ophthalmologists around the countryside. The preoperative and postoperative findings of 6,452 cataract cases were analyzed. The Quality Index Bellevue system was used for quality measurement.
Some significant differences were found, all in favor of the urban population. Nucleus grading, measured according to the Lens Opacities Classification System III (LOCS III), and consequently effective phaco time (EPT) were lower in cities.
“The highest LOCS III grading and EPT were found in the southwestern region, which is very rural,” Herbst said.
Visual acuity at presentation and visual acuity postop, as well as patient satisfaction, were slightly better, although not significantly, in urban areas. – by Michela Cimberle
Disclosure: Herbst reports no relevant financial disclosures.