BACKGROUND Visual acuity and vision related quality of life outcomes in cataract surgery were evaluated in a population based survey in two geographic zones in Nepal.
METHODS Case finding was based on random sampling using a stratified cluster design with door to door enumeration of people aged ⩾45 years followed by eye examinations at village sites. All aphakics/pseudophakics, those with visual acuity less than 6/60 in either eye, and a sample of those with normal visual acuity were administered visual functioning (VF) and quality of life (QOL) questionnaires.
RESULTS 15% of the 159 cataract operated cases had presenting visual acuity ⩾6/18 in both eyes, 38% with best corrected visual acuity. 21% were still blind with presenting visual acuity <6/60 in both eyes, 7% with best correction. On a 0–100 scale, mean VF and QOL scores were 87.2 and 93.9 respectively in normally sighted unoperated individuals, dropping to 15.6 and 29.5 for those severely blind (<3/60). Among the cataract operated, mean VF and QOL scores were 47.5 and 55.4, respectively. VF and QOL scores correlated with vision status at statistically significant levels (p <0.0001)
CONCLUSION Cataract surgery outcomes, whether measured by traditional visual acuity or by patient reported VF/QOL, are at levels many would consider unacceptably low. It is apparent that in the quest to reduce cataract blindness much more attention must be given to improving surgery outcomes.
- cataract surgery
- visual acuity
- visual functioning
- quality of life
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