The switch between cataract surgical settings: Evidence from a time series analysis across 20 EU countries


To analyze trajectories of cataract surgery rates and to confirm the switch between inpatient cases and day surgery or outpatient cases.


Pooled, cross-sectional, time series analysis.


Data on 20 European countries from 2004 to 2014 retrieved from the OECD.


The number of cataract surgery cases per 100,000 population has increased since 2004 (b = 31.1, p < 0.001, 95% CI = 26.7, 35.6). A reversal of the inpatient cases and same-day cases was found: the first ones decreased (b = –14.7, p < 0.001, 95% CI = –17.7, –11.8) while day surgery and outpatient cases increased (b = 37.5, p < 0.001, 95% CI = 31.6, 43.4, and b = 8.3, p = 0.001, 95% CI = 3.6, 13.1, respectively). Since 2004, the ratio of day surgery and outpatient cases to inpatient cases has grown significantly (b = 3.3, p < 0.001, 95% CI = 2.5, 4.0), reaching a share of 31.7 in 2014. However, this slope of 3.3 was not constant and slowed over the years: from 4.5 per year during the first five years to 1.9 in the second five. No association was found between cataract surgery rate and two regressors: elderly people, and health care expenditure per capita.


EU countries have preserved cataract surgery, and this preservation is probably affected by the switch from inpatient to same-day surgery, thanks to the decrease in the cost and equivalent clinical outcomes. However, the slope of the switch slowed over time. Consequently, health care systems must support this process of change especially through reforms in financial and organizational fields.