A new retrospective analysis show that female ophthalmology residents performed fewer cataract operations and fewer total procedures compared with their male counterparts over a 12-year period.
In a study published online July 18 in JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers reviewed the case logs of 1,271 ophthalmology residents from 24 U.S. residency programs from July 2005 to June 2017. Variables analyzed included mean volumes of cataract surgery and total procedures, resident gender, and maternity or paternity leave status.
The research found that being female was associated with performing fewer cataract operations and total procedures.
Male and female residents performed a mean of 176.7 and 161.7 cataract operations, respectively, and a mean of 509.4 and 451.3 total procedures, respectively. Overall, 10.4 and 15.6 percent of male and female residents, respectively, took parental leave. Male residents who took paternity leave performed a mean of 27.5 more cataract operations than those who did not take leave; female residents performed similar numbers of operations whether they took leave or did not take leave. From 2005 to 2017, each additional year was associated with a 5.5 increase in cataract volume, and 24.4 increase in total procedural volume. This increase was not different between genders for cataract procedure volume, but was different for total procedural volume—the increase in total procedural volume over time for men was greater than that for women (β = −8.0 [95% CI, −14.0 to −2.1]; P = .008).
Overall, female residents performed 7.8 to 22.2 fewer cataract operations and 36.0 to 80.2 fewer total procedures compared with their male counterparts from 2005 to 2017. Researchers said the findings warrants further exploration to ensure that residents have equivalent surgical training experiences during residency regardless of gender. The study authors point out that the study included a limited number of programs (24 of 119 [20.2%]). Future research including all ophthalmology residency programs may minimize the selection bias issues present in this study.