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What patients want to know before they have cataract surgery
  1. M J Elder,
  2. A Suter
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, Christchurch School of Medicine, Christchurch University of Otago, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to: Associate Professor Mark Elder Ophthalmology Department, Christchurch Hospital, Private Bag 4710, Christchurch, New Zealand;


Aims: To investigate what patients want to know before undergoing cataract surgery.

Methods: A written questionnaire was answered by 190 patients prior to cataract surgery.

Results: The five pieces of preoperative information rated most important were: chance of visual improvement; when vision would improve; overall risk of losing vision from the operation; effect of not having the operation, and the types of serious complications. When asked “should you be warned of a serious complication if it has a risk of happening”, 93.5% said yes to a risk of 1 in 50 and 62.4% to 1 in 1000. Written information was requested by 85.7%. There were few differences between the sexes, and between those having their first or second operation.

Conclusions: Patients most wanted to know benefits and risks, even very small risks. Written information should be provided to ensure coverage and reinforce verbal information.

  • cataract surgery
  • preoperative information
  • informed consent

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  • The authors have no commercial interests in any aspects of this paper.

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