OBJECTIVE OR PURPOSE: To describe the cumulative incidence of age-related cataracts and cataract surgery over a 10-year interval.
Design: Prospective epidemiologic study.
Participants: Persons 43 to 86 years of age participating in the Beaver Dam Eye Study (n = 4926 at baseline, 2764 for baseline, 5-year and 10-year follow-ups).
Methods: Questionnaires and examinations were performed according to standardized protocols in a clinic setting in the town of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Lens photographs were obtained with specially modified cameras and were graded according to codified rules by trained graders.
Main outcome measures: Nuclear, cortical, and posterior subcapsular cataracts and cataract surgery.
Results: In right eyes, incident nuclear cataract occurred in 19.4%, cortical cataract in 17.4%, posterior subcapsular cataract in 6.1%, and cataract surgery in 10.8%. Incidence increased for all end points with age. Women had significantly higher incidences of nuclear cataract and cataract surgery than men. Time trends seem to be influencing the incidence of cataract surgery.
Conclusions: Age-related cataracts are common events in aging. Age-specific cataract surgery incidence seems to be increasing.