Understanding Cataracts

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Expert Cataract Care for Clearer Vision.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cataracts or are experiencing vision problems, you’ve come to the right place. Cataracts are one of the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cataracts are responsible for approximately 51% of world blindness, which translates to about 65 million people.

The risk of developing cataracts increases with age, and they are particularly common among older adults. In fact, age-related cataracts are the most prevalent type. As people live longer, the prevalence of cataracts continues to rise. However, cataracts can also occur in younger individuals due to genetic factors, trauma, or other underlying medical conditions.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a common eye condition characterized by the clouding of the lens, the transparent structure located behind the iris (colored part of the eye). The lens plays a crucial role in focusing light onto the retina, allowing us to see clearly. When cataracts develop, the lens becomes increasingly opaque, impairing vision and causing visual disturbances.

Older gentleman playing guitar

Causes of Cataracts:

Cataracts can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Aging: Age-related cataracts are the most common type, often occurring after the age of 60. As we age, the proteins in the lens may clump together, leading to clouding.
  • Genetics: Some people may inherit a predisposition to cataract development, making them more susceptible to developing the condition earlier in life.
  • Trauma: Eye injuries can cause cataracts to form, even years after the initial injury.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and prolonged use of corticosteroids, can increase the risk of cataracts.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, prolonged sun exposure without protective eyewear, and poor nutrition may contribute to cataract formation.

Symptoms of Cataracts:

The symptoms of cataracts can vary from person to person, but common signs include:

  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Sensitivity to bright lights and glare
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Faded or yellowed colors
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a cataract evaluation today.
Senior woman driving her car with top down

Treatment Options:

While cataracts cannot be reversed or treated with medication, they can be effectively treated with surgery. Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The procedure is typically safe, quick, and performed on an outpatient basis. After surgery, most patients experience improved vision.

If you have cataracts, you have options. Eye Specialists of Ohio offers advanced technology lenses as part of various Premium Cataract Vision Packages. During your cataract evaluation, your Eye Specialists of Ohio surgeon will recommend which is best for you.

Cataract Statistics

Here are some cataract statistics to give you an overview of their prevalence:

Global Prevalence: Cataracts are a widespread eye condition, affecting people all over the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cataracts are responsible for an estimated 51% of world blindness, making them the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Age-Related Prevalence: Cataracts are most commonly associated with aging. The risk of developing cataracts increases as we get older. By the age of 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have undergone cataract surgery, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

US Prevalence: In the United States, cataracts are highly prevalent. The National Eye Institute (NEI) reports that more than 24.4 million Americans aged 40 and older have cataracts. By the age of 75, approximately 50% of Americans have cataracts.

Global Burden: Cataracts pose a significant burden on global health. The Global Burden of Disease Study, conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, estimated that in 2019, cataracts affected over 196 million individuals worldwide.

Gender Differences: Studies have shown that cataracts affect both men and women. However, certain studies suggest that women may have a slightly higher prevalence of cataracts compared to men.

Geographical Variation: The prevalence of cataracts can vary across different regions. Factors such as genetics, socioeconomic conditions, access to healthcare, and exposure to risk factors (e.g., UV radiation) can influence the prevalence rates. For example, cataracts are more prevalent in regions with high UV exposure, such as countries near the equator.

Impact on Quality of Life: Cataracts can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, causing visual impairment, difficulty performing daily activities, and reduced independence. However, with timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the vast majority of cataract cases can be effectively managed, leading to improved vision and quality of life.

It’s important to note that these statistics may vary depending on the data source and region studied. Regular eye exams and early detection are crucial for timely intervention and optimal management of cataracts. If you suspect you have cataracts or are experiencing vision problems, schedule a cataract evaluation today.