“Why do I have cataracts?  My parents didn’t have them until they were in their 80s?”

Cataracts are a normal aging process; everyone eventually gets them if we live long enough.  Think of cataracts as the “gray hair” of the eyes.  Just like some people are bothered with their hair color change while others either don’t mind it or get used to it, cataracts can affect people’s vision to varying degrees at different stages.  In the past, doctors tended to hold off cataract surgery until a patient’s vision was terrible, whether for insurance purposes or due to the limitations of surgical technology at the time.  For this reason, the average age of patients having this procedure has typically been approximately 78 years.  With the advent of modern laser-assisted cataract surgery and premium lens implants, doctors are comfortable performing this procedure at an earlier stage.  We are therefore telling patients about their natural lens changes earlier than they would have in the past.  So, it is not that you are necessarily developing cataracts earlier, so much as we are discussing it earlier in order to offer the option of permanent vision correction at a younger age.

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