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Cataract Clinical Care Standard

This national standard describes best practice care for the care of cataract including referral, assessment, decisions about surgery and post-operative care.

Cataract Clinical Care Standard

Cataract is the most common elective surgery diagnosis in Australia.

The Cataract Clinical Care Standard relates to the care of patients 18 years and over with cataract. It covers the assessment of patients with suspected cataract, cataract surgery where appropriate and postoperative care to complete visual rehabilitation.

Publication, report or update

The Cataract Clinical Care Standard contains eight quality statements and six indicators to improve pathways of care and access for people with clinically significant cataract.

This clinical care standard will apply to all healthcare settings where care is provided to patients with cataract including primary care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services, hospitals and and privately-operated eye clinics.

Contents of the standard and resources

The Cataract Clinical Care Standard is made up of eight quality statements and a set of indicators for safe and appropriate care.

  • For consumers, the standard describes the care you should be offered if you have cataract and when you are considering surgery. Find out more about what the standard means for consumers and the information available.
  • For clinicians, the standard provides guidance on the eight evidence-based quality statements from the clinical care standard. Find out more about what the standard means for clinicians.
  • For health service organisations, the standard describes key components of care that health services can use to guide practice and monitor improvements in care. Find out information about the clinical care standard, the NSQHS Standards and resources to support implementation.

Cataract Case Studies

Access examples of case studies showcasing best practice and innovation in cataract care for referral processes, assessment, postoperative care and postoperative antibiotic use.

Webcast launch – video recording

The Commission hosted a webcast to launch the standard on 17 August 2021.

The launch and panel discussion hosted by Dr Liz Marles, General Practitioner, Hornsby-Brooklyn GP Unit, provides an overview of the new standard, and discusses how to streamline processes to improve prioritisation for surgery, reduce wait times, and provide equitable access to best-practice care for cataract.

The expert panellists included:

  • Conjoint Professor Anne Duggan, Chief Medical Officer, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
  • Tracy Siggins, Director of Ambulatory Services, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
  • Catherine Mancuso, orthoptist and Acting Coordinator of Service Improvement, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital


The development of the Cataract Clinical Care Standard follows a recommendation in the Second Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation (2017) to develop a clinical care standard on cataract surgery. The Atlas found that Australia has twice the rate of cataract surgery (8,000 per million) compared to New Zealand, but less than that of France, the Netherlands and the United States. It also reported 1.6 fold geographical variation across local areas, following the exclusion of the highest and lowest results (includes public and private data).

Consultation and endorsement

The standard was developed in consultation with a topic working group of clinicians, researchers and consumers. Public consultation on the clinical care standard was carried out between February and April 2019. The standard has been endorsed by a number of key organisations.

Evidence base

The evidence or guidelines supporting the quality statements is described in the evidence sources below:

Publication, report or update

The evidence sources for the Cataract Clinical Care Standard are described in this document.

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