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Cataract Surgery Less Likely With Small Social Support Network

Reduced odds of receiving cataract surgery with fewer non-spouse/partner family members

MONDAY, March 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Medicare beneficiaries with small social support networks are less likely to receive cataract surgery, according to a study published online March 8 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Brian C. Stagg, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving a survey administered annually from 2011 to 2015 to a cohort of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years and older with no cataract surgery before the start of the study. A total of 3,448 participants were interviewed, with a total of 9,760 observations.

The researchers found that in a given year, Medicare beneficiaries with a smaller social support network (zero to two individuals) were less likely to receive cataract surgery than those with a larger support network (three or more individuals; adjusted odds ratio, 0.6). Among those with small and large social support networks, the adjusted predicted proportion of Medicare beneficiaries undergoing cataract surgery was 4.7 and 7.5 percent, respectively. Having fewer non-spouse/partner family members in the support network was correlated with reduced odds of receiving cataract surgery (adjusted odds ratio, 0.6); there was no significant correlation for having spouses/partners and non-family members.

“These findings suggest that attention should be given to patients with smaller support networks to ensure that they receive cataract surgery when it is indicated,” the authors write.

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