It is cheaper and just as safe to carry out cataract operations on both eyes at the same time, rather than wait two weeks in between, according to research led by Maastricht University’s teaching hospital.
While it has been possible to operate on both eyes in one day since the end of 2021, several different issues, such as the relationship between cost and quality of life, had not been researched, researcher Lindsay Spekreijse told broadcaster NOS.
“We have shown that operating on two eyes in one day is cheaper, and the outcomes are the same as they are with two separate operations,’ Spekreijse said.
A cataract causes the lens of the eye to become cloudy, which eventually affects vision. With cataract surgery, an eye doctor removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial one, tailored to the patient.
“The argument for two operations centred on the surgeons having the chance to adjust the artificial lens for the second eye,” Spekreijse told NOS. “In practice, however, this rarely happens because the calculation methods for the lenses have improved greatly in recent years.”
The full operation in one day also reduces costs – and could cut spending by up to €27 million a year, the researchers say. Some 500 cataract operations are carried out every day in the Netherlands.
The new treatment method, based on research involving 865 patients, is already possible in some Dutch hospitals and the researchers have received a second grant to roll out the new system across the country, NOS said.
The research paper was published in medical journal The Lancet on Monday.
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