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Cataract surgery

Prioritization of cataract surgery waiting lists

In short: Develop and test a system for prioritising cataract surgery patients to deliver a fair and equitable prioritization system.

Cataract is the leading cause of blindness globally and in Australia and as such is a major public health problem. Notwithstanding blindness, cataract causes significant morbidity including loss of driving ability, falls, accidents and depression. Cataract is expensive to treat; the annual cost of cataract surgery in Australia is almost $460 million per year. In Australia, cataract surgery is readily available to the privately insured urban population but this is not the case in public hospital system, especially in rural Australia where waiting times longer than 12 months are common. This project aims to develop and test a system for prioritising patients for cataract surgery based on the disease impacts. This project aims to deliver a fair and equitable prioritization system for cataract surgery. This new system should prioritise the treatment of those with the greatest need for cataract surgery and provide the greatest benefit for a given allocation of resources. Shorter waiting times for treatment for those who are impacted by cataract the most will eventually translate into better health outcomes, quality of life and decrease in potential adverse consequences of visual impairment such as depression, inability to self-care, falls, hip fractures or accidents. While this project is critical now, the projected increases in cataract related visual impairment in aging Australian population make this project essential for the future.