Rajesh Rajpal, MD, chief medical officer, global head of clinical medical affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision, discusses the process of cataract development and its prevalence in both older and younger populations.
Occurring naturally over time, cataracts can develop in both older and younger populations, particularly those with diabetes or prior eye injuries, said Rajesh Rajpal, MD, chief medical officer, global head of clinical medical affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision.
Can you discuss the prevalence of cataracts among adults in the United States?
Cataracts, as you probably know, are a natural clouding of the lens of the eye. It happens naturally as we age, and it's estimated that by age 75, approximately half of all Americans have cataracts. And cataracts continue to develop as we get older.
There are some reasons that a cataract can develop at an earlier age. For example, if patients are on certain medications, if they're diabetic, if they have a family history of cataracts, or sometimes if they've had significant injuries around the eyes. There are multiple reasons that we look for cataracts at an earlier age, as well.
What trends are you seeing in the development of cataracts?
Certainly, as we all have greater visual needs, we are finding that the age for cataract surgery is occurring at an earlier age in life, because ultimately cataracts decrease vision. So, if we're doing more visually, then we notice that earlier, but the trends in general are still similar.
It's related to those medical conditions or family history at an early age, but otherwise, it's primarily related to age. And it's thought that it’s that natural process of the lens becoming more dense and cloudy, which is really what a cataract is.