National survey and outcomes of resident-performed cataract surgery in monocular patients in the United States

Xinyi Chen, Sidra Zafar, Shameema Sikder, Divya Srikumaran, Michael Boland, Saras Ramanathan, Fasika Woreta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify nationwide policies surrounding cataract surgery in monocular patients and compare outcomes of those surgeries between residents and attending surgeons. Setting: Wilmer Eye Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Design: Retrospective case series. Method: Cataract surgery educators across the United States were surveyed on their policies concerning residents performing cataract surgery on monocular patients. A second survey assessed resident opinions on performing surgery in such patients. In addition, a retrospective chart review was performed of all monocular patients (n = 72) who had resident-performed and attending-performed cataract surgery at the same academic institution. Results: Forty-seven residency programs responded to the survey. Although the majority of cataract surgery educators from these programs thought it was ethical for residents to perform cataract surgery on monocular patients, only 18 programs (38.3%) had implemented specific policies. The resident survey response rate was 39.1%. Residents were more anxious and did more preparation for monocular cases than for routine cataract surgery cases. Analysis of the comparative case series found intraoperative complications (9.7% versus 5.6%; P =.37) and postoperative visual outcomes were comparable between resident and attending surgeon monocular cases. The resident status of the surgeon was not predictive of an increased risk for complications (odds ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.13-7.55; P =.99). Conclusions: Although most educators and resident trainees deemed resident-performed cataract surgery on monocular patients to be acceptable, the majority of residency programs did not have specific guidelines for residents performing surgery on such patients. Outcomes of resident-performed cataract surgeries on monocular patients at the same institution were comparable to surgeries performed by attending surgeons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)939-945
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cataract and refractive surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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