Aims: Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed, but its overuse has been reported. The threshold for cataract surgery has become increasingly lenient; therefore, the selection process and surgical need has been questioned. The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes associated with cataract surgery in patient-reported vision-related quality of life (VR-QoL).
Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted. Consecutive patients referred to cataract clinics in an NHS unit in Scotland were identified. Those listed for surgery were invited to complete a validated questionnaire (TyPE) to measure VR-QoL pre- and post-operatively. TyPE has five different domains (near vision, distance vision, daytime driving, night-time driving, and glare) and a global score of vision. The influence of pre-operative visual acuity (VA) levels, vision, and lens status of the fellow eye on changes in VR-QoL were explored.
Results: A total of 320 listed patients were approached, of whom 36 were excluded. Among the 284 enrolled patients, 229 (81%) returned the questionnaire after surgery. Results revealed that the mean overall vision improved, as reported by patients. Improvements were also seen in all sub-domains of the questionnaire.
Conclusion: The majority of patients appear to have improvement in patient-reported VR-QoL, including those with good pre-operative VA and previous surgery to the fellow eye. VA thresholds may not capture the effects of the quality of life on patients. This information can assist clinicians to make more informed decisions when debating over the benefits of listing a patient for cataract extraction.