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Invited Commentary |

Geographic Variation in Cataract Surgery Rates Searching for Clues to Improve Public Health

Scott D. Smith, MD, MPH1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134(3):276-277. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.5433.
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Cataract is a public health problem that has a substantial global impact. The effects of visual impairment from cataract can extend to every aspect of an affected individual’s life. The risk of falls and bone fractures,1 the incidence of automobile accidents,2 and the rates of depression and anxiety3 are elevated in those visually impaired by cataract. To avoid these and other negative impacts on the quality of life of the individual and the associated economic impact on the community, significant health care resources are allocated to cataract surgery in the United States each year. The cost of providing these services, of course, has its own economic impact by contributing to the rising cost of health care or the diversion of limited resources away from other areas of importance. For each of these reasons, the reduction in the development of cataracts, the optimization of access to cataract surgery once it occurs, and the avoidance of overutilization of health care resources are related and important priorities.

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