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NICE to develop a guideline for the diagnosis and management of cataracts

22 July 2015

The Department of Health in England has commissioned the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to develop a guideline for the diagnosis and management of cataracts, with particular focus on the indications for cataract extraction and lens implant errors. Not only will the proposed guideline be of great significance to patients and ophthalmologists in England, but it is likely to shape policy in the other home nations and abroad. The process by which NICE produces guidelines is described in its publication ‘Developing NICE guidelines: the manual’ available as a pdf from the NICE website ( At first glance the process appears somewhat daunting but, in reality, it is fairly straightforward, the somewhat rigid structure being intended to try to ensure objectivity and reproducibility. The process begins by define the scope of the guideline in discussion with stakeholders. The cataract guideline scope has been finalised and approved by the Department of Health, England. It has been published by NICE, together with the accompanying equality impact assessment and stakeholder comments, and can be found on the NICE website.

The cataract guideline development committee has begun the next stage of the process, that of reviewing the research questions derived from the scope. These will form the basis of the literature searches and evidence extraction by NICE staff that will be used by the committee to make recommendations. A draft guideline will be circulated to stakeholders for comment in December 2016 with a view to publication of the final version in June 2017.