Real-world visual outcomes of cataract surgery based on population-based studies: a systematic review

Xiaotong Han, Jiaqing Zhang, Zhenzhen Liu, Xuhua Tan, Guangming Jin, Mingguang He, Lixia Luo, Yizhi Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background/aims Quantity of cataract surgery has long been an important public health indicator to assess health accessibility, however the quality of care has been less investigated. We aimed to summarise the up-to-date evidences to assess the real-world visual outcomes after cataract surgery in different settings. Methods A systematic review was undertaken in October 2021. Population-based cross-sectional and longitudinal studies reporting vision-related outcomes after cataract surgery published from 2006 onward were included. A meta-analysis was not planned. Results Twenty-six cross-sectional studies from low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) and five cross-sectional studies from high-income countries (HICs) were included. The proportions of participants with postoperative presenting visual acuity (VA) ≥0.32 (20/60) were all over 70% in all HICS studies, but mostly below 70% in LMICS studies, ranging from 29.9% to 80.5%. Significant difference in postoperative VA was also observed within countries. The leading causes for postoperative visual impairment (defined mostly as presenting VA <20/60) mainly included refractive error, ocular comorbidities and surgical complications including posterior capsule opacification, except for one study in Nigeria wherein the leading cause was aphakia. Only four population-based cohort studies were included with 5-20 years of follow-up time, generally demonstrating no significant changes in postoperative visual outcomes during the follow-up. Conclusions We observed large inequality in the visual outcomes and principal causes of visual impairment after cataract surgery among different countries and regions. Structured quality control and enhancement programmes are needed to improve the outcomes of cataract surgery and reduce inequality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1065
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • lens and zonules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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