New research highlights need to address cataract surgery wait times

Research published today shows the true cost of cataract surgery waiting times, with analysis suggesting reducing waiting times would result in estimated public health system cost savings of $6.6 million due to a reduction in the number of avoidable falls.

Published in Public Health Research & Practice, a journal of the Sax Institute, the analysis has found that if the wait for surgery was capped at three months, over a three-year period it would result in 50,679 fewer falls, which can have devastating and even fatal consequences for older people

Even before the additional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, waiting times for cataract surgery in the public health system were as long as two and a half years in some parts of Australia, but cutting waits to just three months would significantly reduce the number of avoidable falls.

Commissioned by Vision 2020 Australia and undertaken by a number of members, the research calls for greater investment in public cataract services, which could include the establishment of high-volume surgery services to increase capacity, as well as standardising referral and triage processes, fast-tracking of referrals when necessary, and prioritising surgery for Indigenous patients to reduce health inequities.

Red more about the research here: