Epidemiology of primary ophthalmic procedures performed in the United States

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Objective: To determine and compare epidemiology, patient demographics, and socioeconomic factors of ophthalmic procedures in the United States.
Participants: All ophthalmic ambulatory procedures performed from 2012 to 2014.
Methods: The State Ambulatory Surgery Databases (SASD), a collection of data from 29 participating states that represent two-thirds of the U.S. population, were used for analysis. All ophthalmic procedures performed in ambulatory settings from 2012 to 2014 were included. Incidence and demographics for each procedure were assessed, with descriptive statistics determined to highlight key differences in epidemiology and patient characteristics for each procedure. Population-based rates of procedures for each racial group were calculated using national census data.
Results: Over a period of 3 years, 3 934 004 ophthalmic procedures were performed, with majority being ambulatory (98.5%). Most common procedures were lens and cataract removal (66.5%), followed by intraocular procedures (11.4%) and procedures involving eyelids, cornea, and conjunctiva (8.2%). All ambulatory procedures had a higher number of female patients except retinal tear and detachment repairs (male patients, 59.4%). Most procedures had a higher rate in blacks compared with whites and other races, and Medicare was the most common mode of payment.
Conclusions: Approximately 1.3 million ambulatory ophthalmic procedures were performed every year between 2012 and 2014 in the 29 reporting states of the United States. Low-income groups and certain minorities, apart from blacks, having a lower rate of procedure suggest that disparities exist in provision of eye care. The factors leading to these differences need to be further studied in order to devise strategies to provide equitable care.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology