Cataract Cases Avoided

Monday - 8/9/2010, 2:42pm EDT

A new report predicts that more than 22 million additional cataract cases will be avoided for Americans born between 1985 and the year 2100 - due to the reduction and eventual elimination of ozone depleting substances. UV radiation increases the risk for skin cancer, but also increases the risk for cataracts -- that affects more than 20 million Americans age 40 and older. For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency has been able to include data on cataract risk by gender and skin type.

The ozone layer is predicted to recover to pre-1980 levels after the year 2065. In the meantime, under a compromised ozone layer, more UV radiation still reaches the Earth's surface.

While treatment for cataracts is widely available in the U.S., the costs are high, with direct medical costs estimated to be $6.8 billion per year.