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Informative video raises patients’ satisfaction with cataract operations

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Wide ranging, low cost benefits to patients, surgeons, and communities accrue from showing day case patients a video of what to expect from a cataract operation, claim Australian researchers, in a randomised controlled trial. Patients’ satisfaction with the operation improved and anxiety lessened, regardless of the expected outcome or previous experience of the procedure.

Patients randomised to view a video about what the process would be like expected significantly higher levels of risk and pain than controls randomised to view a video about anatomy and development of cataract (mean score 2.48 v 1.6), but after the operation they reported significantly more overall satisfaction (8.19 v 7.84), better understanding (7.44 v 5.82), and less anxiety (0.88 v 1.29).

Patients with previous experience expected less anxiety and discomfort and the procedure was significantly closer to expectations, but viewing the expectations video still had significant effect. Interestingly, improvement occurred even though most— 84%—of all patients declared before randomisation that they already had enough or too much information.

The trial included 141 patients in a private hospital carrying out the most private cataract operations in Sydney. Demographic data, details of past experience of the procedure and of expectations before and after the operations were obtained by a blinded interviewer, using a validated 12 cm visual analogue scale. Both videos were based on educational videos provided by pharmaceutical companies.

Using information to improve patients’ expectations for cataract surgery has not been investigated much, even though this operation is the commonest performed in the private sector.