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AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE POLICY AND RESEARCH REITERATES RECOMMENDATIONS OF CATARACT CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES

 WASHINGTON, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- An HHS press release issued Feb. 25 announced the release of "Cataract in Adults: Management of Functional Impairment" -- a new clinical practice guideline developed by a private-sector, multi-disciplinary panel led by Denis O'Day, M.D., chair of the department of ophthalmology at Vanderbilt University's School of Medicine. The development of the guideline was sponsored by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), a part of the Public Health Service within HHS.
 Because a group with different views on the appropriateness of cataract surgery also issued a press release on Feb. 25, AHCPR wishes to reiterate the recommendations of the AHCPR-sponsored cataract clinical practice guideline panel.
 AHCPR emphasizes that the guideline does not, in any way, restrict access of patients to needed surgery. In fact, the guideline panel expressed concern that certain segments of the population, particularly minority populations and the poor, lack adequate access to care for cataracts.
 Cataract causes impairment of vision. Impairment of vision can in turn lead to a diminished ability to do needed or desired activities. If a functional impairment caused by a cataract cannot be improved to the patient's satisfaction by simple methods, such as a change in eye glasses, the patient's decision to undergo surgery for removal of the cataract is appropriate and reasonable.
 The guidelines do not recommend delays in needed surgery. Modern cataract surgery is a highly successful procedure and, with the appropriate indications, the vast majority of patients should expect a satisfactory outcome. Determination of the need for surgery is dependent on the patient's recognition of the cataract's effects on his or her quality of life.
 The guideline recognizes that a variety of tests do not provide reliable indications for surgery. The panel recommends that utilization review groups and other users of this clinical practice guideline review the specific contents of the guideline on all issues. At this time, neither AHCPR nor the panel have data by which to measure the degree of appropriate surgery.
 AHCPR believes this guideline offers the opportunity for patients with functional impairment due to cataract to receive the best possible care with the best possible outcome.
 -0- 3/2/93
 /CONTACT: Bob Isquith of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, 301-227-8364, ext. 173/


CO: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:

KD-DC -- DC018 -- 8017 03/02/93 11:17 EST
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Date:Mar 2, 1993
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