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The New Zealand cataract and refractive surgery survey 2001


Associate Professor Mark Elder, Department of Ophthalmology, Christchurch Hospital, PO Box 4710, Christchurch, New Zealand. Email:


Background: This study documents the current practice for cataract and refractive surgery in New Zealand.

Methods: A postal questionnaire was distributed late in 2000 to all consultant ophthalmologists in New Zealand. Most questions were identical to the 2000 survey of the American Society of Cataract and Refraction Surgeons (ASCRS) enabling a comparison.

Results: There was an 84% return rate from the 103 surveys distributed. In regards to cataract surgery, topical anaesthesia was used by 12% of respondents, clear corneal incisions by 64%, no suture was used by 94%, diamond blades were used by 33%, disposable blades were reused by 64%, preoperative antibiotics were used by 28%, anti­biotic was used in the irrigant by 10%, postoperative injections of steroid/antibiotics were used by 63% and 41% of patients had three postoperative visits after cataract surgery. In regards to refractive surgery, 51% of respondents had access to an excimer laser and clear lens extraction was performed by 13 ophthalmologists. Advice to a 30-year-old −7.00 myope wanting refractive surgery was to have LASIK (88%), wait (8%) or have no surgery (4%).

Discussion: In broad terms, New Zealand ophthalmologists’ cataract and refractive practice is similar to that of the members of ASCRS with the exception of the use of topical anaesthetic (NZ 12%vs USA 49%) and the higher use of postoperative injections of steroid and antibiotic at the end of surgery (NZ 63%vs USA 20%).

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