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Cataract surgery is the only procedure that can alter the effect of cataracts on vision and visual function in living patients. As a therapeutic intervention, cataract removal is generally accompanied by placement of an intraocular lens to facilitate visual rehabilitation. This report reviews information derived from 296 articles published between 1980 and 1990, with the majority published after 1985, concerning the effectiveness and risks of cataract surgery. It provides a detailed list of potential common indications for cataract surgery, and presents ratings of appropriateness and necessity of those indications by a panel of experts. This information is intended to be a primary resource for the development of clinically relevant practice guidelines and for evaluating the appropriateness of use of cataract surgery.

This report is part of the RAND joint report health series. The joint report was a product of RAND from 1988 to 1993 that included documents published jointly with other organizations, which transmitted major research findings and final research.

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