Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Views of older people on cataract surgery options: an assessment of preferences by conjoint analysis
  1. M-A Ross1,
  2. A J Avery1,
  3. A J E Foss2
  1. 1Division of General Practice, School of Community Health Sciences, The Medical School, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
  2. 2Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, NG7 2UH, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor A J Avery, Division of General Practice, School of Community Health Sciences, The Medical School, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK;


Background: Key issues in the quality of care for people with cataracts in the UK include hospital waiting lists, complication rates from surgery, and the use of junior surgeons. The main objective of this study was to investigate the relative importance that older people attach to these factors when given theoretical choices over options for cataract surgery.

Method: A systematic sample of 194 individuals aged 60–84 years on a general practice register in Nottingham were invited to take part in an interview based survey. Respondents ranked 11 “cataract surgery packages” containing different waiting list lengths, complication risks, and surgeon grades. Conjoint analysis was performed to determine the relative importance of these factors for individuals and for the group as a whole.

Results: Of the 194 subjects invited to participate, 146 (72%) completed the interview. For the group as a whole the “averaged importance” of the factors was: complication risk 45.8%; waiting time 41.1%, surgeon grade 13.1%. Analysis of importance scores for individuals showed that some were particularly concerned about complication risk while others were more concerned about waiting times. There was a strong negative correlation between importance scores for these factors (Spearman’s rho –0.78, p<0.001).

Conclusions: Most respondents thought that either risk of damage to sight and/or waiting time were important, while surgeon grade was relatively unimportant. The findings show that some potential cataract patients prefer a greater risk of complication combined with a short wait than a low complication rate and a longer wait.

  • patient preferences
  • conjoint analysis
  • decision making
  • cataract surgery
  • geriatrics
  • surgeon training

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Action points
    Tim Albert