It would not be an exaggeration to state that cataract surgery technology has advanced massively over the past century.
At that point in time, Edward Jackson, MD, considered 20/200 or better vision postoperatively a step forward following cataract extraction using a technique called couching, in which a needle was used to poke cataracts out of the visual axis.
The innovations in cataract surgery then advanced to intracapsular cataract extraction during which an incision was made in the eye and the cataract was pulled out with a cryoprobe.
This technique achieved 20/200 or better vision in 96% of patients compared with the 22% who achieved that level with couching, Anne Louise Coleman, MD, PhD, recounted as she delivered the Jackson Memorial Lecture titled “Using Big Data to Make Discoveries about Cataract Surgery” at the 2015 American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) meeting.
By comparison, 99% of patients now have 20/200 or better and 61% have 20/20 or better after cataract surgery.
However, Dr. Coleman, professor of ophthalmology, Stein Eye Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), questioned why 1% of patients today have an inferior level of vision despite technologic advances. She pointed out that though it is rare, a small percentage of patients develop endophthalmitis or another infection postoperatively.
At this point, the concept of Big Data enters. “Big Data is defined by the three Vs: volume, variety, and velocity,” Dr. Coleman said.
Volume indicates the great deal of data that can be observed and tracked; variety indicates the different data types, i.e., digital images or visual fields that are combined by data fusion; and velocity indicates the data available in real time for use, she explained.