Background: This study examines the current practice and trends for cataract and refractive surgery in New Zealand.
Methods: A confidential postal questionnaire was sent to all consultant ophthalmologists practising in New Zealand in 2004. Most questions were identical to the 2000 New Zealand survey, and were also similar to the 2003 survey of the American Society of Cataract and Refraction Surgeons (ASCRS).
Results: From 97 surveys there was a 92% response rate. Of those surveyed, 70 were performing cataract surgery, 17 were performing refractive surgery, subtenons anaesthetic was used for cataract surgery in 60%, clear corneal or anterior limbal incision in 86%, one-piece foldable intraocular lens in 65%. For refractive surgery, use of refractive lens surgery was recommended for high refractive errors. Advice to a 45-year-old +3.00 hypermetrope wanting refractive surgery was to have laser in situ keratomileusis (88%), laser epithelial keratomileusis (6%) or clear lens extraction (6%). Ninety-four per cent of refractive surgeons in New Zealand used a wavefront analyser. Clear lens extraction was practised by 23 ophthalmologists, phakic intraocular lenses by 16 ophthalmologists.
Discussion: New Zealand cataract and refractive surgery practice remains comparable to that of the members of the ASCRS. As in previous comparisons, there is a relatively low use of topical anaesthetic (New Zealand 19%vs. USA 61%vs. UK [pilot study] 33.3%). This survey showed a high uptake of wavefront analysis in refractive surgery (New Zealand 94%vs. USA 45%).