Four-year analysis of cataract surgery rates in Shanghai, China: a retrospective cross-sectional study
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- BMC Ophthalmology
DOI 10.1186/1471-2415-14-3
  1. Cataract surgery rate
  2. Districts
  3. Medical institutions
  4. Restricting factors
  5. Shanghai


The cataract surgery rate (CSR) is a critical index used to show that cataract blindness is being eliminated. It is considered to be tightly connected to social economic development; however, it is still extremely low in developing countries such as China. Although Shanghai is the most economically developed city in China, its CSR and the obstacles for increasing its CSR have not been previously evaluated.


A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted. By analyzing the data in the “Shanghai Cataract Operations Database” from 2006 to 2009, the CSR in Shanghai was calculated. The numbers of cataract surgeries between urban and suburban districts as well as among various medical institutions were compared.


The CSR in Shanghai increased from 1741 in 2006 to 2210 in 2009, reflecting a 26.94% improvement. Phacoemulsification was the most frequent surgical choice for cataract removal, accounting for 94.93% of total cataract surgeries by 2009. In addition, by 2009, the CSR in urban districts had reached 5468, but only 532 in the suburbs. During 2009, cataract surgery records in 68 district hospitals, 23 medical centers, and 6 private hospitals comprised 32.05%, 52.33%, and 15.62%, respectively, of the total. There was a nearly 3.3-fold increase in the number of surgeries performed in private hospitals in the past four years. Furthermore, the average number of cataract surgeries per doctor that took place in private hospitals per year reached 207, which exceeded the average of 145 that took place in medical centers.


Until 2009, the CSR in Shanghai remained below the rates of social development and fell short of targets suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO). Furthermore, increasing the CSR in the suburbs as well as in district hospitals is an important issue that needs to be addressed.