The surgical management of cataract: Barriers, best practices and outcomes

Margaret A. Chang, Nathan G. Congdon, Shawn K. Baker, Martin W. Bloem, Howard Savage, Alfred Sommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world. Cataract surgery has been shown by multiple studies to be one of the most cost-effective health interventions, and leads to a dramatic increase in quality of life and productivity for many patients. Though there has been marked improvement in the last several decades, surgical delivery services in developing nations are still suboptimal, and a large backlog in cataract cases continues to grow. To decrease this backlog, barriers to surgery, such as direct and indirect patient costs, geographic access to surgical facilities and surgeons, cultural factors, and patient education, must be addressed. In particular, access to services by women and rural patients needs to be improved. It is clear that extracapsular techniques are cost-effective and lead to better post-operative outcomes than intracapsular cataract extraction with aphakic correction. In addition, monitoring surgical outcomes is essential for improving the quality of surgical services. However, other issues regarding the delivery of cataract surgical services, including the role of average power intraocular lenses and the role of non-physician surgeons, are yet unresolved. Information about the true cost of surgery, including costs of surgeon training, equipment, and patient outreach programs, is needed so that the goal of self-sustaining programs may be obtained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-260
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Barriers
  • Blindness
  • Cataract
  • Cost
  • Delivery
  • Outcomes
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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