Healthcare disparities contribute to missed follow-up visits after cataract surgery in the USA: results from the perioperative care for intraocular lens study. BMJ Open 2021;11(3):e038565.Abstract.
OBJECTIVE: To identify factors that contribute to missed cataract surgery follow-up visits, with an emphasis on socioeconomic and demographic factors. METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, patients who underwent cataract extraction by phacoemulsification at Massachusetts Eye and Ear between 1 January and 31 December 2014 were reviewed. Second eye cases, remote and international patients, patients with foreign insurance and combined cataract cases were excluded. RESULTS: A total of 1931 cases were reviewed and 1089 cases, corresponding to 3267 scheduled postoperative visits, were included. Of these visits, 157 (4.8%) were missed. Three (0.3%) postoperative day 1, 40 (3.7%) postoperative week 1 and 114 (10.5%) postoperative month 1 visits were missed. Age<30 years (adjusted OR (aOR)=8.2, 95% CI 1.9 to 35.2) and ≥90 years (aOR=5.7, 95% CI 2.0 to 15.6) compared with patients aged 70-79 years, estimated travel time of >2 hours (aOR=3.2, 95% CI 1.4 to 7.4), smokers (aOR=2.7, 95% CI 1.6 to 4.8) and complications identified up to the postoperative visit (aOR=1.4, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.1) predicted a higher rate of missed visits. Ocular comorbidities (aOR=0.7, 95% CI 0.5 to 1.0) and previous visit best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of 20/50-20/80 (aOR=0.4, 95% CI 0.3 to 0.7) and 20/90-20/200 (aOR=0.4, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.9), compared with BCVA at the previous visit of 20/40 or better, predicted a lower rate of missed visits. Gender, race/ethnicity, language, education, income, insurance, alcohol use and season of the year were not associated with missed visits. CONCLUSIONS: Medical factors and demographic characteristics, including patient age and distance from the hospital, are associated with missed follow-up visits in cataract surgery. Additional studies are needed to identify disparities in cataract postoperative care that are population-specific. This information can contribute to the implementation of policies and interventions for addressing them.