Despite its cost-effectiveness and high-success rate in improving visual function, patients in England are being denied vital cataract surgery by their local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) estimates that there are around 677,000 people in the UK living with a cataract, 568,000 of which are in England. Cataracts are heavily linked to age, and more than half of the 568,000 affected will be people aged 80 years and over.
Strict access on second-eye surgery
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists states that it is important that patients regain as much vision as possible and are able to use both eyes together.
However, a survey it conducted among ophthalmic leads in 2017 found that some Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) apply even stricter access to patients needing surgery on a second eye, meaning patients can have a cataract removed from one eye, but are then left with impaired vision in the other. When one eye has poorer vision, it is harder to use both eyes together to judge distances, known as stereopsis. This impairment of binocular vision increases risk of trips and falls.
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