How fast does a cataract develop?

Dr. Jeffrey J. Wong, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

Most cataracts develop slowly over decades, and are caused by aging itself. By age 65, more than 90 percent of people have cataracts. However, younger people can get cataracts, too. In rare cases, infants are born with them. Less commonly, cataracts can progress rapidly after certain injuries or use of certain medications. 

How quickly the cataract develops varies among individuals and may even be different between the two eyes. Most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years.

Other cataracts, especially in younger people and people with diabetes, may progress rapidly over a short time. It is not possible to predict exactly how fast cataracts will develop in any given person.
Dr. Wayne Bizer
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)
There is no way to predict how rapidly a cataract will develop. There are  many kinds of cataracts, and they can develop very slowly or progress rapidly. Usually, if one can determine their speed of development in the past few years, an educated guess can be made as to how rapidly they will develop over the next few years. There is no guarantee that the speed of cataract development will not increase or decrease in the future.

Your ophthalmologist, Eye M.D., will be happy to provide you with his best estimate during your comprehensive eye examination.

Continue Learning about Cataracts


Cloudy vision, foggy vision - that's how people describe cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens that happens so gradually you may not really notice it until you have trouble driving at night or difficulty reading. A...

t that point, you may need cataract surgery - a standard procedure that is very effective.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.