Purpose: To study the prevalence of previous cataract surgery (PCS) in different age groups in a defined Swedish population.
Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, Blekinge Hospital, Karlskrona, Sweden.
Methods: This investigation of the population of Blekinge County, Sweden, was performed in June 2001. All previous cataract extractions in the district were performed at a single surgical unit, and the register of this unit contains data on all consecutive operations since 1980. The population register in the district was studied to ascertain the number of female and male individuals in different age groups for each year from 1980 though 2000. Included were data about deceased patients and those who moved from the area.
Results: During 21 calendar years, 10,538 patients had cataract surgery; 6,697 of them (63.6%) were alive in June 2001. The survival rate for patients having cataract surgery during the period shows a linear curve for patients operated on during the past 13 years. Among those in the district aged 70 or older, 23.9% of women and 14.0% of men had cataract extraction in 1 or both eyes. In the population aged 40 years and older, 6.43% had a history of PCS. The annual surgery volume is increasing because of a backlog of cataract cases and because of the yearly incidence. With an increase in the annual surgery volume, it is estimated that given the present indications for surgery, it will take 5 to 10 years to reach a level that means further surgery only in patients having new cataract.
Conclusion: Even though there is already a much higher prevalence of PCS than is known from the literature, the annual surgery volume continues to increase, even in older age groups.