Before undergoing cataract surgery, many patients are issued a preoperative 12-item questionnaire. These are designed to identify patients who are likely to develop postoperative complications. However, a new study published in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology suggests that they aren’t getting the job done. In fact, the University of Manitoba–based research team found no significant difference in the rate of postoperative adverse medical events within 30 days between a group of patients who took the questionnaire and a group who did not. Their research may suggest that omitting the questionnaire altogether could streamline the process.

The researchers looked at two separate groups of patients in Winnipeg who had cataract surgery over two separate six-month periods. A group given the questionnaire experienced postoperative medical events 3.82% of the time, while the group for whom the questionnaire was omitted experienced them 4.12%. Subgroup analyses of major medical events yielded no significant differences between the groups.

In the opinion of the physician chart reviewers, none of the events among low-risk patients in the group who skipped the questionnaire were related to its omission. 

Benoit A, Bellan L, Wallace M, et al. Does eliminating the preoperative history and physical make a difference in low-risk cataract surgery patients? A before and after study of 30-day morbidity and mortality. Can J Ophthalmol. February 12, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].