Prevalence of cataract and pseudophakia/aphakia among adults in the United States.

Congdon N, Vingerling JR, Klein BE, West S, Friedman DS, Kempen J, O'Colmain B, Wu SY, Taylor HR; Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group.

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To determine the prevalence of cataract and pseudophakia/aphakia in the United States and to project the expected change in these prevalence figures by 2020.


Summary prevalence estimates of cataract and of pseudophakia/aphakia were prepared separately for black, white, and Hispanic persons (for whom only cataract surgery data were available) in 5-year age intervals starting at 40 years for women and men. The estimates were based on a standardized definition of various types of cataract: cortical, greater than 25% of the lens involved; posterior subcapsular, present according to the grading system used in each study; and nuclear, greater than or equal to the penultimate grade in the system used. Data were collected from major population-based studies in the United States, and, where appropriate, Australia, Barbados, and Western Europe. The age-, gender-, and race/ethnicity-specific rates were applied to 2000 US Census data, and projected population figures for 2020, to obtain overall estimates.


An estimated 20.5 million (17.2%) Americans older than 40 years have cataract in either eye, and 6.1 million (5.1%) have pseudophakia/aphakia. Women have a significantly (odds ratio = 1.37; 95% confidence interval, 1.26-1.50) higher age-adjusted prevalence of cataract than men in the United States. The total number of persons who have cataract is estimated to rise to 30.1 million by 2020; and for those who are expected to have pseudophakia/aphakia, to 9.5 million.


The number of Americans affected by cataract and undergoing cataract surgery will dramatically increase over the next 20 years as the US population ages.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Ophthalmology
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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