Looking at Outcomes Important to Patients May Improve Results of Cataract Surgery

Special Issue of Optometry and Vision Science Focuses on Patient-Reported Outcome Measures

Philadelphia, Pa. (August 29, 2013) – Cataract surgery can lead to good results from a clinical standpoint yet have poor outcomes from the patient’s point of view, reports a study, “Analyzing Patient-Reported Outcomes to Improve Cataract Care”, appearing in the August issue of Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of the American Academy of OptometryThe journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

Using well-designed and validated tools to assess patient-reported outcomes can lead to new insights for improving the results of cataract care, suggests the study by Mats Lundström, MD, PhD, of Lund University and Ulf Stenevi, MD, PhD, of Sahlgren’s University Hospital, Sweden.  Their paper is part of a special theme issue on “Measuring the Patient’s Perspective” in optometry research and clinical practice.

Study Compares Clinical and Patient-Reported Outcomes of Cataract Surgery

Using a nationwide registry, Drs Lundström and Stenevi evaluated clinical and patient-reported outcome measures in nearly 10,000 cataract surgeries performed in Sweden between 2001 and 2011.  For example, a major clinical outcome measure after cataract surgery is visual acuity.  But improved visual acuity may not always reflect patient ratings of change in vision from before to after the procedure—especially in performing everyday functional tasks.

Not surprisingly, a comparison of the two sets of outcomes found that patient-reported measures were affected by clinical measures.  Factors affecting patient-reported outcomes included visual acuity in both the operated and nonoperated eyes, change in visual acuity in the operated eye, and any other eye-related conditions (“ocular comorbidity”).

However, more useful information was gained by looking at factors related to better or worse patient-reported outcomes.  For example, patients who reported better visual function before surgery or who had poor visual acuity in the nonoperated eye were more likely to have poorer patient-reported outcomes after cataract surgery.

Implications for Decisions about Cataract Care

Ocular comorbidity was also related to worse patient-reported outcomes.  These findings may indicate that, as in other chronic diseases, “some patients are too healthy and some too sick to benefit” from cataract surgery, Drs Lundström and Stenevi write.  “It is possible that patients who are very satisfied with their vision and have no problems in performing daily life activities should not have cataract surgery at present.”

The study also looked at situations where the clinical outcomes were good but patient-reported outcomes were poor—which happened in about seven percent of cataract surgeries.  In many of these cases, poor near vision after the procedure was a major contributor to patient dissatisfaction.

There’s a growing emphasis on patient-reported outcomes and quality of life in assessing various medical or surgical treatments.  But there’s been little attention to linking patient-reported outcomes to clinical outcomes in an attempt to improve health care.  Age-related cataract is a good model for quality outcome studies:  it is a very common, progressive condition that affects daily life and activities, and one for which surgical treatment is effective.

The new study helps vision care professionals in understanding how patient-reported outcome measures might be used to improve on the results of cataract surgery from the patient’s perspective.  For example, Drs Lundström and Stenevi suggest that surgery could be delayed or not performed in patients who feel they aren’t having a lot of problems with daily activities—perhaps especially if they have good near vision.

The special theme issue presents 20 papers on topics related to the use of patient-reported outcomes in vision care.  “These papers focus on new tools that are being increasingly used to assess the patient’s perspective on a wide range of important conditions, problems, and outcomes,” comments Anthony Adams, OD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Optometry and Vision Science.  “These measures allow us to rigorously measure the outcomes important to patients, and to do so in a very meaningful way.”

To read the article, “Analyzing Patient-Reported Outcomes to Improve Cataract Care”, please visit http://journals.lww.com/optvissci/Fulltext/2013/08000/Analyzing_Patient_Reported_Outcomes_to_Improve.6.aspx

About Optometry and Vision Science

Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of the American Academy of Optometry, is the most authoritative source for current developments in optometry, physiological optics, and vision science. This frequently cited monthly scientific journal has served primary eye care practitioners for more than 75 years, promoting vital interdisciplinary exchange among optometrists and vision scientists worldwide.

About the American Academy of Optometry

Founded in 1922, the American Academy of Optometry is committed to promoting the art and science of vision care through lifelong learning.  All members of the Academy are dedicated to the highest standards of optometric practice through clinical care, education or research.

About Wolters Kluwer Health

Wolters Kluwer Health is a leading global provider of information, business intelligence and point-of-care solutions for the healthcare industry. Serving more than 150 countries and territories worldwide, Wolters Kluwer Health’s customers include professionals, institutions and students in medicine, nursing, allied health and pharmacy. Major brands include Health Language®, Lexicomp®, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Medicom®, Medknow, Ovid®, Pharmacy OneSource®, ProVation® Medical and UpToDate®.

Wolters Kluwer Health is part of Wolters Kluwer, a market-leading global information services company. Wolters Kluwer had 2012 annual revenues of €3.6 billion ($4.6 billion), employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide, and maintains operations in over 40 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Follow our official Twitter handle: @WKHealth.

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Robert Dekker
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Wolters Kluwer Health
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Robert.Dekker@wolterskluwer.com

Connie Hughes
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