HealthDay News — There is considerable geographic variation in patient age at initial cataract surgery across the United States, according to a study published online Dec. 30 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

In a retrospective cross-sectional study, Courtney Y. Kauh, MD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the extent of geographic variation in median patient age at initial cataract surgery among insured U.S. patients with cataracts. Data were included for 1,050,815 beneficiaries older than 40 years of age with cataracts.

The researchers found that 23.1 percent of patients with cataracts underwent one or more surgical procedures. Age at initial surgery varied by nearly 20 years (59.9 to 60.1 years in Lansing, MI,  and Aurora, IL, vs. 77.0 to 79.6 years in Marquette, MI, and Rochester and Binghamton, NY). There was five-fold variation in the highest vs. the lowest age-standardized cataract surgery rate (37.3% in Lake Charles, LA, vs. 7.5% in Honolulu). There was considerable variation in the median time from initial cataract diagnosis to date of first surgery, from 17 days in Victoria, TX, to 367 days in Yakima, WA. Black patients had decreased risk of surgery (hazard ratio, 0.85), while Latino and Asian patients had increased risk (hazard ratios, 1.08 and 1.09, respectively), compared with white patients.

“In recent years, patient age at first cataract surgery and the age-standardized surgery rate have varied considerably among some U.S. communities,” the authors write.

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