Original Research

Impact of cataract surgery on vision-related quality of life

Amukelani J. Zitha, Nishanee Rampersad
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 79, No 1 | a498 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v79i1.498 | © 2020 Amukelani J. Zitha, Nishanee Rampersad | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 January 2019 | Published: 20 January 2020

About the author(s)

Amukelani J. Zitha, Department of Health, Themba Hospital, Kabokweni, South Africa
Nishanee Rampersad, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: Blindness and visual impairment have been shown to reduce vision-related quality of life (VRQoL), general health and social status and increase mortality. Understanding the influence of different cataract surgery techniques on VRQoL can enhance the understanding of which technique may be most suitable to achieve the best outcomes from a patient’s perspective. Previous studies have focused exclusively on the phacoemulsification technique, with limited attention on other techniques that are common in developing countries, such as the extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) and manual small-incision cataract surgery (MSICS) techniques.

Aim: To evaluate the impact of cataract surgery on VRQoL for the ECCE and MSICS techniques.

Setting: The study was conducted at the Themba Hospital in the Mpumalanga province.

Methods: A case study research design was used at the Themba Hospital. Participants underwent either the ECCE or the MSICS technique and were followed for a period of 6-weeks post-surgery. The VRQoL was assessed using the 33-item Indian Vision Functioning Questionnaire (IND-VFQ-33). Data were presented using frequencies, percentages and means ± standard deviations.

Results: The sample included 101 participants, with a mean age of ~66 years. Following cataract surgery, there was an increase in the frequency of the ‘not at all’ response for the majority of the questions in the IND-VQ-33 questionnaire in all three domains. There were statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) between the pre-surgery and post-surgery mean scores for all the questions, with the exceptions being those related to problems experienced when seeing outside in bright sunlight, bright light hurting the eyes and closing the eyes because of light from vehicles.

Conclusion: Individuals who underwent both the ECCE and MSICS techniques showed improvement in VRQoL in terms of general functioning, psychosocial impact and vision symptoms domains.


cataract surgery; extracapsular cataract surgery; manual small-incision cataract surgery; vision-related quality of life; daily living activities; visual function; visual impairment


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