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Cataract surgery is the most frequently undertaken NHS surgical procedure with approximately 452,000 cataract operations undertaken in England and 20,000 in Wales during 2018-2019 NHS year. 

The data presented on this page were collected from 101 NHS cataract surgical centres between 01 September 2018 to 31 August 2019 in England, Wales and Guernsey. Results are available for contributing NHS Trusts, Welsh Health Boards, Independent Sector Treatment Centres and for individual consultant surgeons.

Please note that we have only published the outcomes for surgeons who have performed a minimum of 50 operations during the audit period.

If you have any questions about the information available on this page, please email [email protected]

The cataract audit examined two prmiary indicators of surgical quality, Posterior Capsular Rupture (PCR) and Visual Acuity (VA) loss.


The term Posterior Capsular Rupture (PCR) refers to a breach of the normal barrier between the front and back parts of the eye. PCR can arise as a complication of cataract surgery and may allow vitreous (a transparent substance with the consistency of egg-white which occupies the space inside the eye behind the lens) to move forward into the front part of the eye. When PCR occurs it increases the risk of loss of vision after surgery.

Please note that PCR is a situation that can occur during surgery and be corrected during the same surgery. Patients can have good surgical outcomes if the complication is corrected. 

Patient characteristics and surgeon experience can influence the likelihood of PCR occurring and information collected pre-operatively can help to mitigate against these characteristics along with suitable surgeon allocation for each patient.


Visual Acuity (VA) Loss (visual harm from surgery): the most important outcome for cataract surgery is vision, this is what matters most to patients. Vision which is worse after the operation than before is identified as an adverse outcome.

Please note that the VA data recording is currently not complete at participating trusts. This has been recognised as a risk for the audit from the outset and despite significant efforts to improve this, including electronic data return tools for optometrists to use, this remains an issue.

Data completeness varies widely by centre depending on the local patient pathway for post-op care. Surgeons with less than or exactly 40% of both pre- and post-op VA data has been excluded from this outcome with a note to indicate that data completeness is inadequate for reporting.


Data source:

Trust electronic medical record (EMR) systems: e.g. Medisoft, OpenEyes, Epic and in-house databases compliant with the RCOphth national cataract dataset. For all EMR sources, the data used for the audit comprise the actual (anonymised) hospital record for each of the patients.


The data used in the audit analysis does not fully represent the total number of cataract surgery that is being performed every year in England and Wales. Some centres and surgeons have joined the audit towards the end of the data collection period and have contributed lesser cases to audit