Average Age for Cataract Surgery: What You Need to Know

Sourav Gupta
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Dr. Kaushal

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Average Age for Cataract

A cataract is one of the common eyesight changes with increasing age. 

It occurs naturally and slowly as the protein in the eye lens breaks, clouding the lens.

This can cause blurry vision, light sensitivity, and less colorful images of objects.

The lens becomes completely opacified as time passes, leading to severe vision loss.

Cataract surgery is the only effective treatment to restore lost sight. 

According to PubMed, around 10 million cataract surgeries are performed every year. 

The average age of patients having cataract surgery was younger than 65 years.

Did you know?
You can reduce the risk of getting cataracts by wearing sunglasses, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco.

Average age for Cataract

Most cataracts occur naturally as individuals age and seriously impair vision after 60 years.

A young person’s eye remains healthy even if they get cataracts in the future.

The protein in the eye’s lens begins to degrade after the age of 40 years, which results in the clouding of the lens.

Even the lens gets yellow after the protein breaks up.

As time passes, the lens gets more covered, and the cataract gets more severe.

Over half of all Americans aged 80 and above have experienced the consequences of cataracts.

Although detectable indications and symptoms frequently develop in patients in their 50s or 60s.

When to get Cataract Surgery

Cataract development occurs on average at a younger age, but as people become older, their risk increases.

Only around one to two percent of cataract surgery, patients are less than 40.

But many youngsters are not aware of whether they are getting cataracts or not.

According to a Mayo Clinic study, people choose surgery at earlier stages.

The study examines cataract surgeries performed in Olmsted County, Minnesota, between 2005 and 2011.

Among them, 20 percent of the surgeries were done on patients younger than 65.

Prevalence of Cataracts by age

The prevalence of cataracts increases with age. 

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), cataract is the common cause of blindness, responsible for 35% of all blindness.

As per the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the prevalence of cataracts according to age is as follows: 

  • 14-24% of patients with cataracts are aged 50 to 64.
  • 33-50% of cataract patients are 65 to 74 years old.
  • 60% of cataract cases have people more than 75 years of age.

Regular eye exams are essential to detect and treat cataracts early, particularly as you age.

Consult your eye doctor when you notice any cloudiness or blurry lens.

Cataract surgery

Cataract SurgerySource: loonger_From_Getty_Images_Signature
Cataract Surgery

The treatment of a cataract involves surgery for the removal of the affected lens.

The removal of the eye lens is then followed by replacing it with an artificial lens.

The surgeries can significantly improve a person’s quality of vision and lifestyle. 

Here’s what you can expect before and after cataract surgery:

Before surgery

Before cataract surgery, you will undergo a comprehensive eye exam.

The eye examination determines the severity of your cataracts and ensures you are healthy for the surgery. 

You may need to stop taking specific medications or drinking for a while before the procedure. 

Your doctor will also provide you with instructions on how to prepare for the surgery.

During surgery

Cataract surgery is an outpatient surgery that takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete. 

You may receive local anesthesia to numb your eye, and your surgeon will make a small cut in your cornea to access the cloudy lens. 

They will then use a tool to break up and remove the broken lens using suction.

After which, they insert an artificial lens in its place. You will not feel any pain during the surgery but may experience some pressure or discomfort.

Also Read: Learn more about the artificial lenses used in Cataract surgery in our article “Types of Lenses for Cataract Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide.”

After surgery

types of cataract surgerySource: Jittawit21
Cataract Surgery

After the surgery is complete, you can go home after taking 15 to 30 minutes of rest. 

You can experience blurry vision, mild discomfort, or itchiness for a few days after the surgery.

But these symptoms should go away with time.

Your doctor may recommend some medications you need to take to prevent infection or reduce swelling. 

Also read: You can check out our article “After Cataract Surgery: How to Manage Your Vision” to learn tips for relief after surgery.

Warning
You may also need to avoid activities and sports with the excess movement for a few weeks after the surgery.

Conclusion

Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to improve vision for people with cataracts.

The average age for this surgery has been decreasing due to better technology and surgical techniques.

The sooner you get to know about cataracts, the better it is to treat them.

Age is important but not the only factor in deciding when surgery is necessary.

Other things like the severity of cataracts, overall health, and personal preferences can also matter.

Following the doctor’s instructions and properly caring for your eye after surgery can ensure a smooth and successful recovery.

Recommended Article:
To know more about cataract surgery, you can read Types of Cataract Surgery: All You Need to Know.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age should cataracts be removed?

There is no such recommended age for the removal of cataracts. A cataract starts developing after the age of 40. And people begin early intervention to prevent their vision.

Do cataracts ever get better without surgery?

No, there is no way to get rid of cataracts without surgery. Some studies are continuously exploring alternatives for surgery. But at this time, cataract surgery is the only option.

What are the negatives of cataract surgery?

Some of the side effects of cataract surgery involve blurry vision. You may experience mild discomfort and itchiness for some days after the cataract surgery.

Citations:
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