Cataract patients reported positive experiences with a new postoperative remote care tool but emphasized a need for easy-to-understand results and to retain access to their eye care provider. Photo: Wikicommons/Augen33. Click image to enlarge.
The venerable one-day post-op visit is an essential part of the cataract surgery regimen, especially in the United States, but some question its continued need in the face of the increasingly uncomplicated outcomes typical of current surgical techniques. At the same time, interest in remote monitoring and care applications has been steadily increasing in the past few years. Will these two trends conspire to evolve cataract follow-up into a remote visit rather than an office-based exam?
Researchers based in the Netherlands recently assessed a new web-based e-health tool for cataract patients after surgery and reported that patients had overall positive experiences but noted a few areas for improvement, such as overcoming patient insecurity over taking the test and providing more complete information on how to interpret test results.
The test enables users to self-assess their visual acuity or refractive error using an electronic device such as a smartphone, tablet or computer. The test includes audio and written instruction guides. The study, published in the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, evaluated the experiences of 22 patients, using questionnaires, in-depth semi-structured interviews and a multicenter, randomized controlled trial that evaluated this approach to remote care after cataract surgery.
The researchers, one of whom is a shareholder of the test company, identified four themes among patient responses: (1) “inventive” solutions to practical barriers encountered while taking the test; (2) a need for clear presentation of test results and their meaning; (3) an appreciation of the visual function self-monitoring capabilities; and (4) a preference to have the option to see their eyecare provider postoperatively, especially if they were symptomatic.
Considering these barriers to adoption, the researchers formulated several recommendations for future use of this remote tool. “These focus on building trust in remote eyecare delivery and acknowledging the need to retain access to the eye care provider when medically indicated or deemed necessary by the patient,” the researchers explained in their paper.
Claessens JLJ, Maats EPE, Iacob ME, et al. Introducing e-health technology to routine cataract care: patient perspectives on a web-based eye test for postoperative telemonitoring. J Cataract Refract Surg. April 3, 2023. [Epub ahead of print].