Background: In recent decades cataract surgery has shifted slowly from public hospitals to ambulatory surgery centers, demonstrating changes in the profile of patients presenting to public hospitals for cataract surgery. These changes may potentially affect the complexity of surgeries, their volume, resident training, and perhaps also visual outcomes and patient satisfaction.
Objectives: To assess the changes in the medical and demographic characteristics of patients undergoing cataract surgery in a public hospital over a period of 15 years.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of patients undergoing preoperative assessment before cataract surgery. Records for the period October 2000 to January 2001 (100 patients), October 2006 to January 2007 (100 patients), and October 2013 to January 2014 (150 patients) were assessed for demographic, systemic and ocular related parameters.
Results: There was a significant increase in the average age of patients (70.4, 72.4, 73.9 years, P = 0.026), with a significant increase in the percentage of patients of Arab ethnicity (17%, 11%, 28.7%, P = 0.002), and concomitant systemic co-morbidities (38%, 46%, 64.7%, P < 0.0001). There was an increase in the percentage of patients with narrow palpebral fissures (0%, 2%, 8%, P = 0.003), deep-set eyes (2%, 4%, 18%, P < 0.0001), dense nuclear sclerotic cataract (38%, 34.4%, 56.9%, P = 0.001), and a significant increase in the percentage of patients taking alpha-blocking medications (0%, 8%, 10.7 %, P = 0.004).
Conclusions: Patients presenting for cataract surgery in 2013 compared to those in earlier periods are older, sicker and have more ocular conditions potentially affecting cataract surgery outcomes, patient satisfaction and residents' training.