Stress and cataract surgery: A nationwide study evaluating surgeon burnout

Abdus Samad Ansari, Annie See Wah Tung, David M Wright, Patrick Watts, Gwyn Samuel Williams

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Background: We aimed to evaluate the nationwide prevalence of stress induced burnout among cataract surgeons. We believe that knowledge of these factors can help formulate a solution to this underreported problem.
Methods: A three-part nationwide cross-sectional survey was disseminated with via the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) in the United Kingdom(UK). All consultants, trainees and specialty doctors and associate specialists(SAS) were invited to participate. We evaluated burnout using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). Logistic regression modelling was completed to look at factors linked to high level burnout in certain domains.
Results: A total of 406 respondents completed our survey. Prevalence of cataract surgery-related high burnout was estimated at 3.45% (Section A and/or B) and 40% within Personal Accomplishment (PA)(Section C of the MBI). Multiple factors were associated with increased burnout within PA: Increasing age: 61+ OR: 2.99 (1.02–8.78, p = 0.05), Number of cataract operations completed: >3000 OR 2.98 (1.03–8.64, p = 0.04), Lists per week: 2: OR 2.99 (1.38–6.47, p < 0.01), 2.5: OR 8.95 (2.58–31.02, p < 0.01), 3 or more: OR 2.64 (1.07–6.54, p = 0.04). Sleeping 8 h or more was found to be protective OR 0.52 (0.28–0.96, p = 0.04). 17% of respondents indicated they would be willing to give up cataract surgery if given the opportunity.
Conclusion: The prevalence of stress induced burnout by cataract surgery appears to be present in a minority of surgeons. There appears to be a significant reduction in the feeling of personal achievement within the profession. A large proportion of this cohort appears to be willing to give up surgical responsibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1640-1649
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number4
Early online date03 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • General Medicine
  • Ophthalmology


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