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The Royal College of Ophthalmologists release first National Data Set in Refractive Surgery

12 March 2018

Following the release of Professional Standards for Refractive Surgery and a comprehensive set of informative patient information in April 2017, the RCOphth has now released a national data set to be used by clinics offering refractive surgery.

A national data set defines a standard set of information and data to be collected which is generated from patient care records.  The National Data Set for Refractive Surgery provides organisations with a standardised list of relevant and well-defined variables to be collected in laser and implant based refractive surgery and associated pre and postoperative care.

The data recommendations include spectacle test results and tests of distance, intermediate and near vision without glasses (both eyes open) before and after surgery. Organisations will also collect a standard set of patient demographics, details of any problems during and after surgery, and the patients’ rating of their satisfaction with the outcome of surgery.

Bruce Allan, Chair of the RCOphth Refractive Surgery Standards Working Group commented, ‘By using the RCOphth’s data set recommendations, refractive surgery clinics will be able to see which procedures work best and obtain an accurate overview of how safe and effective modern vision correction surgery is within their organisation.’

At present datasets are already in available for the treatment of three common eye conditions; cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment. Cataract surgery has led the way.  Results from the National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) Audit in Cataract Surgery have helped paint an accurate, contemporary picture of overall results and results for subcategories of patients with additional eye problems. This has helped surgeons and clinics to benchmark their own performance against national standards, and has also helped them to provide patients with more accurate counselling on what to expect from vision after surgery and what the risks are in their particular case.

Bruce Allan continued, ‘We are recommending that all providers of refractive surgery incorporate this standard set of outcome measures into their clinical care routine. Pooling information nationally will provide up-to-date, high quality information on outcomes for both surgeons and patients.’

View further information and download the National Data Set in Refractive Surgery Guidance.

Surgery to correct refractive errors, using lasers or implants, to provide freedom from glasses or contact lenses is increasingly popular. Over 100,000 refractive surgery procedures (laser vision correction surgery) are undertaken every year in the UK and implant based alternatives are now widely available.