In the JournalsPerspective

Mayo Clinic: Cataract surgeries performed at steady rate of increase

The number of incident cataract surgeries continues to increase at a steady rate, with the greatest number of surgeries performed in the most recent year analyzed, according to a study.

In a population-based extended study of medical records in Olmsted County, Minn., Mayo Clinic researchers merged 7 years of data from 2005 to 2011 with data from 1980 to 2004 to create a cataract registry spanning 3 decades.

In the most recent 7-year period, 8,012 cataract surgeries were performed on 5,725 patients, with the number of surgeries increasing significantly over the period and reaching a peak rate of 1,100 per 100,000 in 2011 (P < .001).

The rate of cataract surgeries in women increased over the 2005 to 2011 time span compared with the previous 7 years, but no significant change in the rate of increase was seen in men. The number of second-eye surgeries performed within 3 months of first-eye surgery at least doubled over the number performed in the previous 7 years (P <.001).

Large population-based studies in Sweden have shown a leveling off in the number of cataract surgeries performed, but the current study shows an increase in surgery rate.

“Our updated incidence data estimates changes in annual demand for cataract surgery and should prove useful in planning future health care spending and in ensuring adequate access to appropriate cataract treatment,” the study authors said.

Disclosure: The study authors have no relevant financial disclosures.

The number of incident cataract surgeries continues to increase at a steady rate, with the greatest number of surgeries performed in the most recent year analyzed, according to a study.

In a population-based extended study of medical records in Olmsted County, Minn., Mayo Clinic researchers merged 7 years of data from 2005 to 2011 with data from 1980 to 2004 to create a cataract registry spanning 3 decades.

In the most recent 7-year period, 8,012 cataract surgeries were performed on 5,725 patients, with the number of surgeries increasing significantly over the period and reaching a peak rate of 1,100 per 100,000 in 2011 (P < .001).

The rate of cataract surgeries in women increased over the 2005 to 2011 time span compared with the previous 7 years, but no significant change in the rate of increase was seen in men. The number of second-eye surgeries performed within 3 months of first-eye surgery at least doubled over the number performed in the previous 7 years (P <.001).

Large population-based studies in Sweden have shown a leveling off in the number of cataract surgeries performed, but the current study shows an increase in surgery rate.

“Our updated incidence data estimates changes in annual demand for cataract surgery and should prove useful in planning future health care spending and in ensuring adequate access to appropriate cataract treatment,” the study authors said.

Disclosure: The study authors have no relevant financial disclosures.

    Perspective

    This study, emanating from a historically respected source, expectedly demonstrates that the incidence of cataract surgery has been steadily increasing in Olmsted County, Minn., and most likely in the entire United States, for the past 30 years. This result is opposite the finding of leveling off of incidence in Sweden.
    It is expected and appropriate that the incidence of cataract surgery is steadily increasing in the U.S., where surgical access is not controlled by government-imposed restrictions and waiting lists. Recent decades have witnessed increasing indications and rapid decline in complications for cataract surgery. Earlier surgery allows patients to maintain active lifestyles. Safe refractive cataract surgery is a blessing to high ametropes, and cataract surgery improves control of glaucoma. Although mortality is never produced by cataracts, I believe that ophthalmologists have played a huge role in extending the healthy active lives of people from about 75 years in 1970 to at least 85 years currently, mostly due to enhancements in cataract surgery. The study reflects an outstanding victory and is its main message.

    • Steve A. Arshinoff, MD, FRCSC
    • OSN Cataract Surgery Board Member

    Disclosures: Arshinoff is a consultant for Alcon, AMO, Bausch + Lomb, Anteis and Arctic Dx, none of which impact upon this topic.