NICE releases guidance on planned care including cataract operations

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists says mandatory pre-operative COVID-19 testing could slow progress on tackling surgery waitlist

microscope with light
Pixabay/Konstantin Kolosov
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has questioned a requirement for COVID-19 testing before planned surgery following the release of a rapid guideline by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The guidance details steps to minimise the risk associated with planned surgery, including having a SARS‑CoV‑2 test no more than three days before any procedure involving anaesthetic in hospital.

Patients are required to self-isolate from the day of the test until their admission to hospital.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has expressed concern that the current wording of the guidance will mean that COVID-19 testing will be mandatory for all cataract surgery patients, highlighting that this would limit the restoration of routine services in some areas.

The College is calling for healthcare providers to have the flexibility to determine locally the safest and most efficient pathway for patients undergoing cataract surgery.

Guidance should take into account, among other factors, the local availability of COVID-19 testing and infection rates within the area.