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Outcomes of cataract surgery: a population-based developing world study in the Bhaktapur district, Nepal


Dr Suman S Thapa, Nepal Glaucoma Eye Clinic, Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, PO Box 561, Kathmandu, Nepal. Email:


Background:  To evaluate the visual outcome after cataract surgery in a population of Nepal.

Design:  Population-based cross-sectional study.

Participants:  Forty years and above residing in Bhaktapur district.

Methods:  Subjects were selected from 30 clusters using cluster sampling procedure. All underwent a detailed examination at the base hospital, including logarithm of minimal angle of resolution visual acuity, refraction, applanation tonometry, cataract grading, retinal examination and perimetry when indicated.

Main Outcome Measures:  Visual acuity after cataract surgery.

Results:  Out of 4003 subjects examined, 151 had undergone cataract surgery. Pseudophakia was present in 142 (94.0%), aphakia in nine (6%). Presenting and best-corrected visual acuity ≥6/18 was achieved in 123 (54.4%) and 164 (72.4%) eyes, respectively. Among the pseudophakic eyes, at presentation 122 (57.5%), 72 (33.9%), 18 (8.5%) and after best correction 162 (76.2%), 33 (15.8%), 17 (8.0%) had visual acuity of ≥6/18, <6/18–≥6/60 and <6/60, respectively. Retinal disease (35.5%), surgical complications (27.4%) and posterior capsular opacification (14.5%) were the principle causes of visual impairment after best correction in all eyes. There was no significant association in visual outcome based on age, sex, literacy and the duration of surgery.

Conclusion:  Correction of refractive errors, preoperative screening of coincidental diseases, reduction in surgical complication rates and monitoring of postoperative follow-up care has to be addressed seriously in order to improve the outcome of cataract surgery to meet standards proposed by the World Health Organization. In the future, longitudinal studies need to be undertaken to provide specific information on the outcomes of cataract surgery in this community.