New research shows that older people with cataracts are at increased risk of falling, and therefore expediting cataract surgery could help reduce the risk of falls.

In a study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, the researchers outline that cataract surgery is a quick and simple procedure providing very good patient outcomes cheaply, however, patients often have to wait to get cataract surgery and there is a large unmet clinical need.

A recently published modelling study shows that expediting cataract surgery can reduce falls, improve vision and is good value for money.

This begs the question of what more New Zealand could do to increase throughput of cataract procedures.

The researchers argue that the New Zealand public health system should consider prioritising the reduction of waiting times for cataract surgery by expediting cataract surgery through changes to the current scoring system and increasing throughput with more cases on each surgical list.

There may also be some potential for cost reductions through enhanced bulk purchase by DHBs from private sector providers.

Expediting cataract surgery in New Zealand is cost-effective for falls prevention and improving vision—so what might be the next steps? By Matt Boyd, Adeline Kho, Nick Wilson, Graham Wilson. Published in New Zealand Medical Journal.

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