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To study the epidemiology and mortality in patients who had cataract surgery in public hospitals and private hospitals/clinics in Denmark between 2004 and 2012 and to assess the validity of the Danish cataract registries.Register- and chart-based study.A total of 411 140 cataract operations were performed in 243 856 patients. Patients who had cataract surgery in public hospitals had an overall statistically significantly 62% higher mortality compared to patients who had cataract surgery in private hospitals/clinics. The decrease in mean age at first eye cataract surgery in private hospitals/clinics was statistically significantly greater compared to the decrease in mean age at first eye cataract surgery in public hospitals (p < 0.001). The median time interval between first and second eye cataract surgery decreased statistically significantly during the study period (p < 0.001) and was statistically significantly shorter in all calendar years for patients operated in private hospitals/clinics compared to patients operated in public hospitals (p < 0.001). In all, 46% of the cataract operations performed in private hospitals/clinics that led to cases of postoperative endophthalmitis were not registered in any registry.In general, patients who had cataract surgery in private hospitals/clinics were healthier, had first eye cataract surgery at an increasingly younger age and had a reduced time interval between cataract surgeries in the two eyes compared to patients who had cataract surgery in public hospitals. The lack of registration of cataract surgery by the private hospitals/clinics limits the quality of the registries.