Considerable attention has recently been focused on patients undergoing cataract surgery. The procedure is common in the elderly, who often have extensive comorbid diseases, and is thought to be safe. It is performed with local anesthesia and mild sedation. Worldwide, an estimated more than 150 million eyes are blind because of cataracts. More than 22 million Americans have cataracts, and that number will continue to rise. Each year, 3 million Americans have cataract surgery (estimated to be 4.4 million by 2020) at a current cost of $3.5 billion. Of these 3 million, 99.5 percent will have no serious perioperative complications.1,2 

Preoperative testing before cataract surgery has not been shown to improve safety or alter outcomes, and it is a poor utilization of limited health care resources. In a Cochrane review of preoperative testing before cataract surgery,...

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