Rationing cataract surgery

Yes, they’ve been rationing cataract surgery in Great Britain for some time now.  The health system there is bankrupt.  But Britain may not be the only country delaying cataract operations.  Spain, Norway, Ireland, are among countries that perform fewer cataract operations per 100,000 population than Britain.  [Daily Mail UK Aug 10, 2016] And it comes to light that health tourists, foreigners who travel to Britain to obtain modern cataract operations, are placed in line for cataract removal/lens implant operations ahead of its own citizens.  Impatient cataract patients can offer to pay out of their own pocket to move up on the waiting list.  Britain faces a $39 billion shortfall in healthcare funding by 2020. [Telegraph UK July 11, 2016]

A study shows that an elderly patients who waits 15.3 months for cataract surgery has a 21% reduction in quality of life during that time.  [British Journal Ophthalmology March 2007]  Health plans can drag their feet over scheduling cataract operations because patients with one-sided cataracts can always use their better eye.   But it is not as simple as that.  Elderly subjects who don’t see well because of cataracts may fall and break their hip, get in an auto accident, mistakenly take the wrong medication.  It costs less to treat than to ration.  Cataract surgery in the US is largely performed on demand with little waiting time on an outpatient basis.

The typical cataract patient is in their 70s.  This writer takes N-acetyl carnosine eye drops every day to delay or prevent them altogether.

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