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

Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 Apr;122(4):487-94. doi: 10.1001/archopht.122.4.487.


Objectives: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusion: The number of Americans affected by cataract and undergoing cataract surgery will dramatically increase over the next 20 years as the US population ages.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aphakia, Postcataract / ethnology*
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cataract / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Pseudophakia / ethnology*
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*