Changes in ocular and surgical parameters during the waiting period for cataract operation
Aim: To evaluate the changes in ocular and surgical parameters during the waiting period for cataract extraction.
Patients and methods: The records of all patients who had cataract extraction between January and March 2001 at the United Christian Hospital were reviewed. The initial visual acuity when the operation was scheduled was compared with that at the preoperation visit, approximately 3 weeks before the operation. The patients were divided into 2 groups based on their initial visual acuities. Patients in group 1 were those with initial visual acuities <0.1. Patients were assigned to group 2 if they had initial visual acuities >= 0.1. The mean waiting time for cataract operation was calculated and compared between the 2 groups. The operation cancellation rate and change in the method of cataract extraction were also studied. Cataract-related complications occurring during the waiting period were documented.
Results: The records of 107 consecutive patients under- going 107 cataract operations were reviewed. The mean age was 73.7 ± 8.1 years. Fifty one patients (47.7%) with initial best corrected visual acuity <0.1 (group 1) had a mean waiting time for cataract operation of 20.7 ± 5.1 weeks. The remaining 56 patients (52.3 %) with initial best corrected visual acuity >= 0.1 (group 2) had a mean waiting time of 35.1 ± 6.7 weeks. Forty seven patients (43.9%) had a further decrease in visual acuity while waiting for cataract operation. There were no lens- induced complications such as phacomorphic glaucoma for any patients waiting for cataract surgery. Three patients required a change of the cataract extraction method from phacoemulsification to planned extra- capsular extraction due to increased cataract density. Eight patients (7.5%) had the cataract operation cancelled. Five of the 8 patients had their operations cancelled due to changes in comorbidities.
Conclusion: In a local hospital, where general health is poor, a 20- to 35-week waiting time for cataract extraction, based on the initial visual acuity, may be acceptable for patients with uncomplicated cataract. Patients with previous cataract operation cancelled due to poorly controlled systemic diseases should be re-scheduled for early surgery.
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