Cataract epidemiology and world blindness

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Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world. Due to increased longevity, the incidence of visually impairing cataract is rising. Identification of risk factors may lead to strategies to reduce this public health problem. This past year, additional evidence has linked heavy alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and ultraviolet light exposure with cataract. Currently the only effective measure for control is cataract surgery. Worldwide, most cataracts are removed with intracapsular extraction. Increasingly, extracapsular cataract extraction with implantation of posterior chamber intraocular lenses is becoming available in many developing countries.

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