42% of all cases of blindness in the world is caused by cataract(s). An estimated 25 million Americans have cataracts. As the population of America continues to age, the number of cataract cases are projected to increase by 50% to 38.5 million by 2032.
Getting cataract(s) is a natural aging process, in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision.
Risk factors for cataracts include:
- Older age
- Intense heat or long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes
- Inflammation in the eye
- Hereditary influences
- Events before birth, such as German measles in the mother
- Long-term steroid use
- Eye injuries
- Certain eye diseases
Most cataracts develop slowly, over the course of years. Cataract(s) don’t disturb vision early on. Once a cataract interferes with someone’s visual activities, the cloudy lens can be replaced with a clear artificial lens, this is generally a safe outpatient surgery.
The artificial lens is called an intraocular lens (IOL). This lens can be made from silicone or acrylic. Complete recovery can be expected over 1 to 2 days. The artificial lens that is implanted during cataract surgery do not break down and never need to be replaced. To receive the long lasting benefits of IOL’s patient should follow any aftercare instructions given by the surgeon following the procedure.