Latest audit figures show increase in numbers and outcomes of cataract procedures

  • 02 May 2024
  • Communications team

The safety of cataract surgery in the UK is continuing to improve, results from the latest National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) cataract audit – published today – show.

Data gathered from 177 centres over a 12-month period to 31 March 2023 indicate that fewer than 1 in 200 patients experience substantial reduction in vision following cataract surgery. The major complication of surgery (posterior capsule rupture or PCR) is occurring in less than 1% of operations.

Audit results also show that cataract surgery is being undertaken at an earlier stage in the disease process than ever before, possibly because of the increasing safety of the procedure, with many people electing to have surgery whilst still having vision good enough to drive legally. This has led to an expansion in the numbers of cataract surgeries being done nationally.

Dr John Buchan, Clinical Lead – RCOphth NOD Cataract Audit, said, “The increase in numbers and safety of cataract operations is encouraging for both patients and providers. The expansion has been achieved by the growth of high-volume consultant-delivered services, but this increase in low-complexity cases also represents an opportunity to improve surgical training, which has not yet been seized.”

“The other main thing flagged up by this year’s audit is the need to build better data collection systems to capture the results of cataract surgery. With more patients being followed up in the community, hospitals are getting data on postoperative visual acuity and complications in less than two thirds of cases. Ophthalmic electronic medical record providers offer solutions to allow community optometrists to report the outcomes of surgery, but this or other robust methods of obtaining feedback on surgery must be constructed if we are to be confident in the quality of surgery that we are providing nationally.”

View the key findings here.

This National Cataract Audit is a collaborative venture, and we thank every hospital and clinician that contributes to making this the success it is. We encourage the remaining hospitals who have not yet joined, to work towards that goal in the next year so that all NHS patients can be protected by the quality assurance, and benefit from their data driving quality improvement nationally and locally.

Find out more at Home | NOD Audit