The development of cataracts is linked with aging and is the leading cause of visual impairment. According to the National Institute of Health cataracts affect more than 24 million Americans and with the aging of the US population, this number is projected to increase to 38.7 million by 2030. The rate of cataract surgery has also increased dramatically over the past several decades and is now at 62 persons per 1000 person/year with over 3 million procedures performed in the US annually. Cataract surgeries are rising but is the Average age of Cataract Surgery increasing also?
Average Age of Cataracts
A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s internal focusing lens. The lens is located behind the iris, the colored part of the eye and normally focuses light on the retina, which sends the image through the optic nerve to the brain. If the lens is clouded, light is scattered and is no longer able to be focused properly. This causes vision problems. Most cataracts are caused by normal changes in a person’s eyes as they get older and will begin to cause noticeable vision loss after age 60. The lens in a young person’s eye is clear. Around age 40, the proteins in the lens of the eye start to break down, causing the transparent lens to become cloudy and yellow. When these changes occur, the lens is then called a Cataract. Over time, the cataract gets more severe and clouds more of the lens. Detectable signs and symptoms often appear in patients in their 50s or 60s and more than half of all Americans age 80 or older have experienced the effects of cataracts.
Average Age of Cataract Surgery
Today the average age of Cataract Surgery in the US is 72 years old, although evidence suggests that the average age is beginning to decrease. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic found that more people are choosing cataract surgery at a younger age. The study examined cataract procedures done from 2005 to 2011 in Olmsted County, Minnesota, and 20 percent of the surgeries were performed on patients younger than age 65. Dr. Rosa Braga-Mele of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery concurs and suggests that younger patients are less willing to accept the inconvenience of a cataract and are selecting to have surgery at younger ages. Baby Boomers in their 50s and 60s wants to eliminate “any hurdle to their independence” and often want to have cataracts removed sooner rather than later.
Cataract Surgery at SoCal Eye
All treatment begins with a Consultation with a SoCal Eye cataract surgeon in Long Beach. At this consultation the surgeon will perform a complete eye exam with dilation to examine the lens and rule out other causes of decreased vision. At this visit the surgeon will discuss the cutting-edge lens implant options that are right for you. SoCal Eye feels strongly that patients should be informed and educated on all applicable lens technologies when they make their final lens selection. The right choice is the one that is tailored specifically for the patient’s needs, not just the most expensive lens.
For Cataract Treatment in Long Beach, Schedule an Appointment today at LAKEWOOD (562) 531-2020 | LOS ALAMITOS (562) 598-7728 or send us an Online Consultation Request