Cataract is the leading cause of visual impairment worldwide. In the UK, some 30% of the population over 65 years of age have visually impairing cataract. Importantly, 88% of those with treatable visual impairment from cataract are not in contact with any ocular healthcare service, representing a major potential healthcare need . In the USA, it has been estimated that 17.2% of the population (approximately 20.5 million) over 40 years of age have cataract in either eye and by 2020, this number is expected to rise to 30.1 million. Currently, cataract is responsible for 60% of Medicare costs associated with vision . Furthermore, as the populations of industrialized countries such as the UK and the USA continue to age, the costs associated with treatment of cataract can only be expected to increase. Consequently, the development of the intraocular lens to replace the cataractous lens and the advances in intraocular lens design and implantation represent a major development in cataract treatment. However, despite such advances, cataract surgery is not without complications, such as postoperative infectious endophthalmitis, a rare but potentially devastating condition, and posterior capsular opacification, a less serious but much more common problem. This review will examine the epidemiology of cataracts, the polymeric construction of intraocular lenses implanted during cataract surgery and the complications of postoperative infectious endophthalmitis and posterior capsular opacification with regard to therapeutic interventions and prophylactic strategies. Advances in biomaterial design and function will be discussed as novel approaches to prevent such postoperative complications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Reviews and References, Medical