Objective: To analyze population-based trends in cataract extraction.
Design: Rochester Epidemiology Project databases; which capture virtually all health care services provided to residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, were used to perform retrospective cohort analyses of rates of primary cataract extractions performed between 1980 and 1994.
Participants: The population of Olmsted County, Minnesota.
Main outcome measures: Incidence rates adjusted to the age and sex distribution of the 1990 US white population were analyzed using Poisson regression.
Results: The 4257 procedures performed on 3176 patients of all ages represented overall annual age-adjusted rates of 404 procedures per 100,000 females and 320 per 100,000 males. Annual age- and sex-adjusted rates for both sexes combined rose from 133 procedures per 100,000 in 1980 to a peak of 507 per 100,000 in 1992. The rates fell to 470 per 100,000 in 1994. Manual review of a random sample of records estimated case overascertainment at 0.9%.
Conclusions: With the exception of 1988 and 1989, rates of cataract surgery in this geographically circumscribed population increased every year between 1980 and 1992. Data from 1993-1994 indicate that rates may have plateaued and possibly declined slightly. If sustained, these patterns could have major implications for future utilization of ophthalmologic resources.