Are Cataracts Common?
Are Cataracts Common?

Cataracts are often thought of as a problem that only affects older people, but is that really the case? This article will discuss how common cataracts are among different age groups and backgrounds.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts occur when the lens inside your eye becomes cloudy. This makes it difficult for you to see clearly and can affect your daily life.

How Common Are They?

Cataracts are quite common, especially among older adults. According to studies, more than half of all people over the age of 65 have some form of cataracts. However, they can also occur in younger people and even in babies, although this is less common.

Risk Factors

Certain factors can increase your chance of developing cataracts, such as:

  • Ageing
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight

Are Cataracts Just an “Old People” Problem?

While it’s true that the risk of developing cataracts increases with age, they can affect people of all age groups. Even some children are born with cataracts or develop them at a young age, which is known as “congenital cataracts.”

On the Bright Side

Because cataracts are so common, doctors have a lot of experience treating them. In South Africa, for example, hundreds of these low-risk procedures are performed every day. This makes cataract surgery one of the most commonly performed and successful operations.

Should I Be Worried?

If you fall into one of the risk categories or are experiencing vision problems, it’s a good idea to consult an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) for a full eye exam. The tests involved are not painful and are generally comfortable.


Cataracts are quite common, especially as you age. However, they can affect people of all age groups. The good news is that because they are so common, treatment options like surgery are well-understood and low-risk.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your ophthalmologist or other qualified health professional with any questions or concerns you may have about your eyesight. The most reliable advice is obtained through a consultation and inspection from a medical specialist.


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