New Cataract Referral Criteria for South Staffordshire- 19/04/2016 at Staffordshire Local Optical Committee

New Cataract Referral Criteria for South Staffordshire- 19/04/2016

Staffordshire LOC has just been informed by the commissioning manager for East Staffordshire CCG that the criteria for Cataract procedures have changed, with effect from 1st April 2016.

The main change to the criteria is that the visual threshold for NHS cataract surgery has been amended.  From now on, patients with VA of 6/9 or worse in either first or second eye can be referred for NHS cataract surgery, providing that the patient’s lifestyle is being affected by the cataract. 

This change covers all four South Staffordshire CCGs: Stafford & Surrounds CCG, Cannock Chase CCG, SE Staffordshire & Seisdon Peninsula CCG and East Staffordshire CCG – along with Wolverhampton CCG.

The usual medical exemptions to the visual threshold requirement still apply – please see table below.


5. Ophthalmology


5.1  Surgery for Cataracts

Cataracts eye surgery is commissioned for both first and second eyes, when a patient meets the following criteria for each eye:

  • The patient should have sufficient cataract to account for the visual symptoms (6/9 – 0.18 on the LogMAR chart -  or worse) AND
  • Should affect the patient’s lifestyle:

-                     Difficulty carrying out everyday tasks such as     recognising faces, watching TV, cooking, playing sport/cards etc.

-                      Reduced mobility, unable to drive or experiencing difficulty with steps or uneven ground.

-                      Ability to work, give care or live independently is affected


This information together with a report from a recent sight test should form the minimum data on the referral form.


Other indications for cataract surgery include; facilitating treatment for one or more of the following;

  • Monitoring posterior segment disease e.g. diabetic retinopathy
  • Correcting anisometropia 
  • Patient with Glaucoma who require cataracts surgery to contract intraocular pressure


Patients with Single Sight (Monocular Vision):

The indications for cataract surgery in patients with monocular vision and those with severe reduction in one eye e.g. dense amblyopia are the same as for patients with binocular vision, but the ophthalmologist should explain the possibility of total blindness if severe complications occur.




5.2  Laser Treatment of Myopia (short sightedness)

Not routinely commissioned



5.3 Implantable Intraocular Lens Systems for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Not routinely commissioned



5.4 Ozurdex Intravitreal Implant 0.7mg (outside NICE recommendations)

Not routinely commissioned



Mark McCracken                                                                     
Joint Vice Chair (South), Staffordshire LOC

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