Evidence Summary

What is an Evidence Summary?

Key messages from scientific research that's ready to be acted on

Got It, Hide this
  • Rating:

Inpatient cataract surgery has similar outcomes but is more costly than day-care cataract surgery

Lawrence D, Fedorowicz Z, van-Zuuren E  Day care versus in-patient surgery for age-related cataract  Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2015 November.

Review question

How does day-care cataract surgery compare to inpatient surgery in terms of cost-effectiveness, clinical outcomes, and/or patient satisfaction?


There are some concerns over the quality of the service provided by day-care units and purpose-built centres for cataract surgery.

Daycare was initially introduced to contain costs, shorten wait times, and enable healthcare providers to perform more cataract surgeries in less time.

Initial concerns over the effectiveness of day-care cataract surgeries compared to inpatient surgeries have delayed their widespread use, and while there have been some studies that have compared the two procedures, an objective evaluation and comparison between the two is needed.

How the review was done

A detailed search of a number of electronic databases for studies published up until 2015 was conducted. Studies that compared day-care surgeries to inpatient surgeries and focused on the primary outcomes of visual acuity, the secondary outcomes of adverse effects, intraoperative and postoperative complications, quality of life, and economic data, were included in the review.

A total of 715 studies were identified in searches, and  two were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.

This review was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) U.K.

What the researchers found

Patients’ vision four months after surgery was similar among those who received day-care surgery and inpatient surgery, while intraoperative complication data was unavailable.

While there was increased risk of postoperative pressure buildup within the eye in day-care surgeries the first day after surgery, this was not the case at four months. Results related to other complications were inconclusive.

Improvements in patient quality of life were similar in both interventions at four months, though it is suggested that participants preferred to recover at home. Costs were 20% higher in inpatient care due to overnight stays versus at-home recovery.


The review presents evidence of cost savings with day-care cataract surgeries when compared with inpatient cataract surgery. Effects on vision and quality of life appeared to be similar, but post-operative complication results were inconclusive. Future research that focuses on evidence provided by high quality clinical databases is needed to enable clinicians and healthcare planners to agree on clinical and social indications for inpatient care, and make better use of resources.

Related Topics


Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

Related Web Resources

  • Eye examinations for adults

    Health Link B.C.
    Refer to these guidelines for how often you should have an eye exam. For example, at age 50 consider yearly examinations for glaucoma or other vision problems. If you have a disease that affects your eyes, have an exam every year.
  • Cataract surgery

    Mayo Clinic
    A cataract causes blurry vision. Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens from your eye and replaces it with an artificial one. Cataract surgery usually takes an hour or less to complete, and you go home the same day.
  • Blepharitis

    Mayo Clinic
    Blepharitis is an eye condition that results in swelling of your eyelids. Symptoms include watery, itchy, red eyes. Wash eyelids with a warm washcloth and diluted baby shampoo to reduce symptoms. Some medications may also help.
DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Register for free access to all Professional content

Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.

Support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative. AGE-WELL is a contributing partner. Help us to continue to provide direct and easy access to evidence-based information on health and social conditions to help you stay healthy, active and engaged as you grow older. Donate Today.

© 2012 - 2020 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use