Association of cataract surgical outcomes with late surgeon career stages: a population-based cohort study.
Prior work has demonstrated that surgical outcomes differ depending on individual practitioner skill, and concerns have been raised regarding the need to assess skills of aging physicians. This study examined whether cataract surgery outcomes differ for late-career ophthalmologists, defined as those who completed medical school at least 25 years ago, compared to mid-career ophthalmologists, who completed medical school 15 to 25 years ago. This secondary data analysis of all single-eye cataract surgeries performed in Ontario between 2009 and 2013 found that almost 30% of procedures were performed by late-career practitioners. Overall, adverse surgical events did not differ by career stage, although very small increases in risk of two specific complications—dropped lens fragment and endophthalmitis, a surgical site infection—were observed. These results suggest that cataract surgery by late-career ophthalmologists does not pose a high-priority safety hazard.