Adoption of Immediate Sequential Bilateral Cataract Surgery Grew During Pandemic

Most areas of the US saw an increase in patients undergoing same-day bilateral cataract surgery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adoption of immediate sequential bilateral cataract surgery (ISBCS) during the COVID-19 pandemic has varied by region in the US among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, according to findings presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2022 annual meeting, held in Chicago from September 30 to October 3. Researchers noted that the highest rate of increase was seen in the West.

The researchers conducted a study to explore the change in trends in ISBCS during COVID-19. To identify patients associated with same-day bilateral cataract surgery, 100% Medicare fee-for-service claims from July 2018 to September 2019 (before) vs July 2020 to September 2021 (during) for patients older than 65 years were analyzed. Chi-square tests were used to evaluate the characteristics of patients associated with same-day bilateral cataract surgery before and during COVID-19. 

The study found that a total of 1874 ISBCS (before 709; during: 1165) were performed among a total of 620,868 bilateral cataract surgeries. The quarterly ISBCS rates increased during the pandemic, from 0.24% to 0.42% (P <.001), although the overall rate of ISBCS is low. 

The highest proportion of those receiving ISBCS were of White ethnicity (before: 79.6%; during: 81.9%) and resided in the West (before: 41.3%; during: 47.6%). Except the Northeast, all census regions had an increasing rate of ISBCS over the study period (P <.001).


Ali M, Dun C, Hyeck S, Prescott C, Srikumaran D. Trends in immediate sequential bilateral cataract surgery before and during COVID-19. Poster presented at: The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2022 annual meeting; September 30-October 3; Chicago. PO014