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  • incidence:
    • major cause of blindness worldwide. This may seem surprising, since it is eminently treatable by surgery, with a 95% success rate. However, psychological, social and economical factors prevent many patients from receiving treatment
    • according to estimates, 225,000 visually impairing cataract patients are expected each year (1)

  • age of onset:
    • may occur at any age, but they are predominantly a condition of old age
    • prevalence increases with age:
      • 16% in 65-69 years age group
      • 24% in 70-74 years age group
      • 42% in 75-79 years age group
      • 59% in 80–84 years age group
      • 71% in 85 years plus age group
      • note that the age of onset in Indian and Bangladeshi patients is lower than other ethnic groups (1)

    • age related cataracts tend to progress slowly

  • cataracts are more common in women than men

  • in addition to age, risk factors for development of cataracts include
    • gender
    • life style factors – smoking, alcohol consumption
    • diabetes mellitus
    • steroid treatment
    • ultraviolet exposure
    • nutrition and socio-economic status
    • dehydration/diarrhoeal crises (1)

  • approximately 200,000 cataract operations are performed each year in the UK


Last reviewed 01/2018