The Australian ophthalmic sector will next week learn whether 6/12 visual acuity or worse as an indication for cataract surgery will remain in the country’s first national Cataract Clinical Care Standard.
Led by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQH), the standard has been developed in collaboration with a working group of clinicians, researchers and consumers and addresses key areas for improvement in the safety and quality of cataract care.
Professor Villis Marshall, chair of the ACSQH board, will launch the inaugural standard in a live webinar on Tuesday 17 August.
According to the commission, cataract surgery is the most common elective surgery in Australia, with more than 250,000 people undergoing the procedure each year.
It proposes the Cataract Clinical Care Standard will help health services to streamline pathways of care and access for people with cataract, to ensure that patients are prioritised for cataract surgery or non-surgical alternatives based on clinical need.
During the consultation phase, the role of 6/12 visual acuity or worse as an indication for cataract surgery became a point of contention after featuring in an initial version of the standard.
Leading surgeons in the field, including Professor Gerard Sutton, as well as peak bodies in eyecare including the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) and Optometry Australia, raised concerns that the proposed requirement that patients have a visual acuity of 6/12 or worse before they are considered eligible for surgery was too proscriptive.
As recent as last month, RANZCO indicated it was not in a position to endorse the standard until the final version was released.
Whether the shared concerns of surgeons and peak bodies have been heard will be revealed during the launch, when a panel of experts in the webinar will discuss key aspects of care described in the standard, including assessing and prioritising patients for surgery.
Sydney general practitioner Dr Liz Marles will host the webinar and be joined by panellists including the ACSQH’s chief medical officer Conjoint Professor Anne Duggan, Tracy Siggins – director of ambulatory services at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, and head of Department of Ophthalmology at Westmead Hospital, Clinical Associate Professor Andrew White.
Register here to attend the online webcast launch.