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Resources to help you deliver safe, sustainable and efficient cataract surgery

28 June 2021

In conjunction with the release of our Joint statement: Interim recommendations to discharge patients following routine uncomplicated cataract surgery with The College of Optometrists, we want to highlight RCOphth resources that will help members deliver safe, sustainable, and efficient cataract services. 

Cataract surgery is the UK’s most common elective operation, with approximately half a million operations performed each year.1 It is one of the most cost effective, efficient, and successful operations in modern healthcare.2

Understanding the current context 

Data analysis published in our 2017 research The Way Forward3 predicted demand for cataract surgery would continue to increase, rising by 25% over the next 10 years, and doubling by 2035. However, our workforce data shows significant, persistent staffing gaps in the hospital ophthalmology and insufficient growth to fill current gaps, let alone support increasing demand.4

Talks on cataract surgery from Congress 2021 

This year’s Congress had a range of sessions that focused on cataract surgery. All sessions will be viewable ‘on demand’ until 26 August 2021.

National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) Audit: cataract surgery

National clinical audits measure and protect patient safety and professional standards. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) runs the National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) Audit which measures the outcomes of Cataract Surgery.

It aims to drive improvement in the quality of care for patients undergoing cataract surgery by identifying variations in access to, and outcomes of cataract surgery. The audit is an important quality assurance measure of the most frequently performed surgical procedure undertaken in the NHS.

More information about NOD.


  1. NHS Digital. Hospital Episode Statistics access 13/10/2020
  2. Cataracts in adults: management NICE guideline [NG77]October 2017 
  3. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists: The Way Forward: Cataract, January 2017 
  4. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Workforce Census 2018