Almost 1 in 13 Seniors Has Cataract Surgery Yearly

Unilateral, bilateral pseudophakia on the rise, longitudinal study finds

TUESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one in 13 U.S. seniors undergoes cataract surgery each year, and the prevalence of unilateral and bilateral pseudophakia is increasing, according to a longitudinal study published in the September issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Adrienne Williams, M.D., of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues studied 8,363 respondents to the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old survey who were at least 62 years old in 1988. Subjects were interviewed in 1998, 2000 and 2002.

Between 1995 and 2002, the researchers found that the annual incidence of cataract surgery was 7.4 percent. From 1998 to 2002, they found that the prevalence of unilateral pseudophakia increased from 7.6 percent to 9.8 percent and that the prevalence of bilateral pseudophakia increased from 10.5 percent to 22.3 percent. They also found that surgery rates were highest among subjects who were age 65 or older in 1998, Medicare recipients underwent more surgeries than privately insured or uninsured subjects and whites were more likely to undergo surgery than blacks.

"Understanding longitudinal cataract surgery patterns and factors influencing the likelihood of undergoing surgery can have a significant effect on Medicare and health care delivery," the authors concluded. "Information from such analysis will better allow us to develop policies and procedures to ensure access to appropriate care."

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