What Percent Of The Population Gets Cataracts? 

According to the World Health Organization, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness around the world—responsible for approximately 51%. By age 80, it’s estimated that over half of all Americans will either have an eye cataract or have had surgery to remedy the condition. 

While most cataracts are related to aging, the likelihood of an individual developing the condition is also dependent on other factors, such as race/ethnicity and gender.

Cataracts: Defining the risk factor 

  •     Eye cataract prevalence by age and race/ethnicity
  •     Eye cataract prevalence by race alone
  •     Eye cataract prevalence by gender

Eye cataract prevalence by age and race/ethnicity

As already mentioned, cataract risk increases with age. Data published by the National Eye Institute shows that after the age of 40, every decade of life brings with it a higher chance of developing the condition. However, this differs depending on a person’s ethnicity.  

  • Black Americans have the lowest chance of developing cataracts, and by age 80 around 53 percent will suffer.
  • Hispanics Americans have the next highest prevalence. By the same age, approximately 61 percent will have cataracts in at least one eye.
  • White Americans have the highest risk factor. By age 75 at least 50% will have cataracts. By age 80, this rises to 70 percent.

Eye cataract prevalence by race alone

Data shows that from age 40 onwards, the incidence of eye cataracts in Americans of a different race are as follows:

  • Hispanic Americans: 12 percent
  • Black Americans: 13 percent
  • White Americans: 40 percent

Eye cataract prevalence by gender 

Cataract risk is significantly higher in women. The condition affects around 61 percent of women, as opposed to 39 percent of men.

Projections for Cataracts 

  •     National Eye Institute projections for the prevalence of cataracts to 2050

National Eye Institute projections for the prevalence of cataracts to 2050 

The above figures are from the latest data and represent those determined in 2010. At that time, around 24.4 million people had cataracts. The National Eye Institute has projected that by 2050, this will have more than doubled, meaning that around 50 million Americans will have the condition.

While the majority of eye cataract will still be seen in White Americans, it’s predicted that the most rapid increase in prevalence will be in those of Hispanic background. This will rise from 1.76 million to 9.51 million affected.

Happily, in the US there are excellent treatments for cataracts. This involves a simple surgical procedure that removes the aging lens (the cause of vision impairment from cataracts) and replaces it with an artificial one. Currently, over 3.8 million procedures are carried out per year. The surgery itself is the subject of much research and advancement. Increased life expectancy means that millions more operations per year will need to be carried out as we all live longer, therefore more people will need treatment.

In the past, such surgeries were wholly carried out by human hand. Today, the latest technology is bringing a level of automation to the process, with laser-assisted surgery now entering the mainstream. Future possibilities are those of robotic procedures, the evolution for both eyes to be treated in a single session, treatment in an upright position, and even that dilation of the pupil may no longer be necessary. Rapidly evolving 3D technology is likely to lead to the simple printing of a personalized IOL (intraocular lens) within the surgery room.

Even more excitingly, the exploration of the genetic preposition of developing cataracts in the first place could, eventually, prevent them entirely!  

These advances go a long way to reducing the concern about the grim projections of the increasing prevalence for eye cataracts. Until then, the key to preventing unnecessary vision loss from the condition is that of regular eye checks, monitoring, and definitive treatment at the correct time. 

Benefit from the Ultimate Cataract Treatment at the West Boca Eye Center

Brent Bellotte MD., lead clinician at the West Boca Eye Center is one of the world’s leading providers of cutting-edge cataract surgery. His dedication to the research of the subject and the provision of the latest technology means that the WBEC can offer ground-breaking cataract treatment, often well before it becomes commonly widespread. 

To find out more and book your consultation visit https://westbocaeyecenter.com today.