Do differences in cataract surgery and total procedural volume exist between US male and female residents during ophthalmology residency training?
This analysis of the case logs of 1271 ophthalmology residents from 24 US ophthalmology residency programs estimates that 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, and the gap widened during this period for total procedural volume.
The current state of surgical training in ophthalmology residency programs deserves further study to ensure that male and female residents have equivalent training experiences.
Although almost equal numbers of male and female medical students enter into ophthalmology residency programs, whether they have similar surgical experiences during training is unclear.
To determine differences for cataract surgery and total procedural volume between male and female residents during ophthalmology residency.
Design, Setting, Participants
This retrospective, longitudinal analysis of resident case logs from 24 US ophthalmology residency programs spanned July 2005 to June 2017. A total of 1271 residents were included. Data were analyzed from August 12, 2017, through April 4, 2018.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Variables analyzed included mean volumes of cataract surgery and total procedures, resident gender, and maternity or paternity leave status.
Among the 1271 residents included in the analysis (815 men [64.1%]), being female was associated with performing fewer cataract operations and total procedures. Male residents performed a mean (SD) of 176.7 (66.2) cataract operations, and female residents performed a mean (SD) of 161.7 (56.2) (mean difference, −15.0 [95% CI, −22.2 to −7.8]; P < .001); men performed a mean (SD) of 509.4 (208.6) total procedures and women performed a mean (SD) of 451.3 (158.8) (mean difference, −58.1 [95% CI, −80.2 to −36.0]; P < .001). Eighty-five of 815 male residents (10.4%) and 71 of 456 female residents (15.6%) took parental leave. Male residents who took paternity leave performed a mean of 27.5 (95% CI, 13.3 to 41.6; P < .001) more cataract operations compared with men who did not take leave, but female residents who took maternity leave performed similar numbers of operations as women who did not take leave (mean difference, −2.0 [95% CI, −18.0 to 14.0]; P = .81). From 2005 to 2017, each additional year was associated with a 5.5 (95% CI, 4.4 to 6.7; P < .001) increase in cataract volume and 24.4 (95% CI, 20.9 to 27.8; P < .001) increase in total procedural volume. This increase was not different between genders for cataract procedure volume (β = −1.6 [95% CI, −3.7 to 0.4]; P = .11) but was different for total procedural volume such that 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).
Conclusions and Relevance
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, a finding that warrants further exploration to ensure that residents have equivalent surgical training experiences during residency regardless of gender. However, this 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.
Gong D, Winn BJ, Beal CJ, et al. Gender Differences in Case Volume Among Ophthalmology Residents. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online July 18, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.2427
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