Why the median age for cataract surgery has changed

Your eye surgeon may suggest cataract treatment if there is a clouding of the lens in your eye that affects your vision. Cataracts are extremely common in older people. In fact, by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have undergone cataract surgery. However, bear in mind that the number of cataract surgeries is on the rise and every year the median age of the surgery patient falls. In fact, a recent study from the Mayo Clinic showed that between 1980 and 2010, the cataract surgery rate had increased five times and there is no evidence this is slowing. Additionally, the median age of a patient undergoing cataract surgery is now 65, while in 2004, the average age was around 75.

There are several factors that have contributed to this including the fact that many people are choosing to have cataract surgery earlier that before. For example, many baby boomers are deciding to undergo cataract surgery earlier than their parents and other previous generations. The reasons they state include that the surgery is safer now than ever before and there are fewer complications than in the past. In addition, to more people knowing the procedure has improved, they are also often unwilling to wait for the cataract to worsen before choosing surgery. Many experts state that many of their younger patients are less tolerant of vision problems and tell them that they do not want to have to curtail their active lifestyles either.

While cataracts can occur in either or both eyes, it cannot spread from one eye to the other. Even though most cataracts are related to aging, it happens when the lens that lies behind the iris and the pupil which works much like a camera lens has protein that clumps together and starts to cloud a small area of the lens.

During normal vision, the lens in your eye focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye and an image is recorded. The lens also adjusts the eye’s focus, so that you see things clearly both up close and far away. It is made of mostly water and protein and the protein is arranged in a precise way so that the lens is clear and light passes through it. However, the protein lump known as a cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens. This makes it harder to see.

Many researchers point to several causes that lead to the need for cataract surgery. These include both smoking and diabetes. It can also stem from the protein in the lens changing from the wear and tear it takes over time.

However, bear in mind that while the procedure is pretty straightforward, cataract surgery is not risk-free. The possible complications include inflammation, lens dislocation or detached retina. Additionally, you may also need lasik eye surgery in order to be able to go completely without needing glasses or contact lenses.