Purpose: To determine patient demographics and the ocular biometric parameters in patients presenting for cataract surgery within the public hospital system, in a defined New Zealand population.
Method: Prospective study of 502 eyes of 488 consecutive patients undergoing cataract surgery. A clinical assessment, including refraction, keratometry (K), A-scan ultrasound and Orbscan II computerized topography was performed on each eye.
Results: The mean age of the group was 74.9 +/- 9.8 years (mean +/- SD) with a female predominance (62%). Ethnic origin included 72% European, 8% Maori, 10% Pacific Islander, 4% Asian, 3% Indian and 3% other ethnic origins. The mean Log MAR visual acuity of eyes prior to cataract surgery was 0.88 +/- 0.57 (approximately 6/48(-1)). Corneal topographic (keratometric) maps were classified into five groups: 34% round, 10% oval, 31% symmetrical bow tie, 12% asymmetrical bow tie and 13% irregular. The mean steepest K measurement was 44.1 +/- 1.7 D, the median keratometric astigmatism 0.89 D (range 0.0-6.5 D) and the steepest corneal meridian was horizontal in 50% and vertical in 43%. Seven per cent of corneas were spherical. Refraction revealed a mean sphere of 0.0 +/- 3.1 D and a mean cylinder of -1.2 (range 0.0-7.5 D). Refractive astigmatism was with-the-rule in 15%, against-the-rule in 50% and oblique in 15%, with 20% spherical. Axial length was a mean of 23.14 +/- 1.03 mm.
Conclusion: Patients presenting for cataract surgery in this study were predominantly elderly, female, of European Caucasian ethnicity and exhibited relatively poor corrected visual acuity in the affected eye. Interestingly, 41% of eyes demonstrated bow-tie topographic patterns, largely exhibiting with-the-rule astigmatism. However, assessment by keratometry or refraction highlighted against-the-rule more frequently; this may have implications for combined cataract and astigmatic surgery. The mean axial length was slightly shorter than expected for a group of predominantly European ethnic origin, although the mean refractive error was emmetropic.