Relationship between socioeconomic deprivation or urban/rural residence and visual acuity before cataract surgery in Northern Scotland

Eur J Ophthalmol. 2013 Nov-Dec;23(6):831-5. doi: 10.5301/ejo.5000302. Epub 2013 May 6.


Purpose: To evaluate the influence of socioeconomic factors on visual acuity before cataract surgery.

Methods: The medical case notes of 240 consecutive patients listed for cataract surgery from January 1, 2010, at Grampian University Hospital, Aberdeen, were reviewed retrospectively. Patients with ocular comorbidity were excluded. Demographics, postal codes, and visual acuity were recorded. Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation was used to determine the deprivation rank. Home location was classified as urban or rural. The effect of these parameters on preoperative visual acuity was investigated using chi-square tests or Fisher exact test as appropriate.

Results: A total of 184 patients (mean 75 years) were included. A total of 127 (69%) patients had visual acuity of 6/12 or better. An association was found between affluence and preoperative visual acuity of 6/12 or better (χ2trend = 4.97, p = 0.03), with a significant rising trend across quintile of deprivation. There was no evidence to suggest association between geographical region and preoperative visual acuity (p = 0.63).

Conclusion: Affluence was associated with good visual acuity (6/12 or better) before cataract surgery. There was no difference in preoperative visual acuity between rural and urban populations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract / physiopathology*
  • Cataract Extraction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*