Background: Cataract extraction is the most frequently performed surgical intervention in the world and demand is rising due to an ageing demography. One option to address this challenge is to offer selected patients immediate sequential bilateral cataract surgery (ISBCS). This study aims to investigate patient and operative characteristics for ISBCS and delayed bilateral cataract surgery (DSCS) in the UK.
Methods: Data were analysed from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists' National Ophthalmology Database Audit (NOD) of cataract surgery. Eligible patients were those undergoing bilateral cataract extraction from centres with a record of at least one ISBCS operation between 01/04/2010 and 31/08/2018. Variable frequency comparison was undertaken with chi-square tests.
Results: During the study period, 1073 patients had ISBCS and 248,341 DSCS from 73 centres. A higher proportion of ISBCS patients were unable to lie flat (11.3% vs. 1.8%; p < 0.001), unable to cooperate (9.7% vs. 2.7%; p < 0.001); underwent general anaesthesia (58.7% vs. 6.6% (p < 0.001)); had brunescent/white/mature cataracts (odds ratio (OR) 5.118); no fundal view/vitreous opacities (OR 8.381); had worse pre-operative acuity 0.60 LogMAR ISBCS vs. 0.50 (first) and 0.40 (second eye) DSCS and were younger (mean ages, 71.5 vs. 75.6 years; p < 0.001). Posterior capsular rupture (PCR) rates adjusted for case complexity were comparable (0.98% ISBCS and 0.78% DSCS).
Conclusions: ISBCS was performed on younger patients, with difficulty cooperating and lying flat, worse pre-operative vision, higher rates of known PCR risk factors and more frequent use of general anaesthesia than DSCS in centres recorded on NOD.