More men are having their eye surgery in the UK than ever, with a record number of operations carried out each year.
More than 11,000 surgeries were carried out in England and Wales in 2016, according to the latest figures from the British Society of Ophthalmologists and Allied Surgeons (BSOSO).
More men have had operations than ever in the past 10 years, according the BSSO, and a record 1.9 million operations were carried-out in 2016.
Around half of these were operations on men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, while around one in five operations were on men with gallstones.
There were nearly 1.3 million operations in the US, more than any other country, and almost one in four operations were in the eyes.
A number of countries, including Russia, Brazil, Germany and South Korea, have also seen record numbers of operations.
The figures come as the UK is struggling with an epidemic of gallstones in the eye.
It is thought that the number of patients with gallstone problems has increased by more than 50 per cent since the year 2000.
Doctors in England are also seeing more patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which can lead to complications such as lung cancer.
British doctors are also noticing that the rate of gallstone infections in the country has gone up over the past few years, with an estimated 2.4 million cases diagnosed in 2016 and more than 1.5 million people affected.
“The incidence of gall stones is higher in women than men, and we’re seeing more women having their eyes removed than ever,” said Dr. Ian Hickey, chairman of the BOSO.
“The NHS has been really supportive of us as a whole, which is great, but we are also a very large organisation with a large number of surgeries and procedures.”
Dr. Hickey said there is a need for the UK to take greater action to improve the care of men and women with gall stones.
He added that the country must invest in more specialist services for men with conditions such as prostate cancer and gallstones, as well as ensuring that men who are suffering from gallstones are treated by specialist teams.
Dr Hickey also said that the government needs to take action to address the growing burden of the disease, as there is now a growing awareness of the problem among the general population.
In 2016, nearly 11,500 surgeries were performed on men and 1,500 on women, a significant increase on the previous year, which saw about 9,000 operations.
The number of people needing surgery for gallstones fell from 3.9 per cent in 2016 to 1.8 per cent last year.
There are now more than 10,000 men in England needing surgical eye surgeries each year, with the number rising to more than 11 in 2020.
However, the BOSSO says that the problem is not restricted to the UK.
BOSSO statistics show that about 20 per cent of British men with chronic gallstones have never had surgery, and the number has risen by more at the start of this year.
“We’re seeing men with very high levels of infection, and they have very high infection rates,” Dr Hickey added.
Last month, the government unveiled plans to boost funding for surgery, with new funding targets for men who have been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer.
The government has also said it will make surgery safer by introducing a national standardised scheme to reduce the risk of infection.
With the introduction of the National Ophthalmic Standard, the NHS will be able to standardise surgical procedures across the country and the country’s hospitals will have to make sure that all surgeries are carried out by the same team.
According to the government, the national standardisation will also give the NHS a competitive advantage in the international market, allowing hospitals to charge patients less for their surgery.
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