Cataracts occur when there is clouding in the lens of the eye resulting in visual impairment. It is a condition that develops slowly and can affect one or both eyes. It contributes to an estimated 33% of global visual impairment and 50% of all cases of blindness.
Most cases of cataracts are due to aging. However, it may also occur because of exposure to radiation or trauma. Past eye surgery or certain health conditions (i.e. diabetes) are other causes of cataracts in adults. Additionally, some genetic conditions can increase the risk of cataracts and they may be present since birth. Finally, the mechanism behind the formation of cataracts is complex and multifactorial. If you would like to know more about cataracts, continue reading our article.
It is estimated that 51% (20 million) of world blindness is due to age-related cataracts. Worldwide, it causes moderate to severe disability, especially in countries with low and middle income. This is thought to be due to the inadequacy of surgical services. Even in countries where surgical services are available, disability due to cataracts may still be prevalent as there are barriers such as cost, long waits, and transportation issues. In the United States, it has been reported that this condition affects 42% of those between the ages of 52 to 64, 60% between 65 and 74 years, and 91% between 75 to 85 years old. Annually, the estimated direct medical costs are estimated to be $6.8 billion.