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In 2017, the elderly population in the United States comprised over 51 million people. Procedural analysis by iData Research reveals that in the same year, approximately 3.8 million cataract procedures were performed; in other words, a 7.5% incidence among the U.S. population aged 65 and older.

Cataracts have long since been regarded as a condition largely correlated with age. Longer life expectancy, and a shift towards an older average age among the U.S. population, will lead to increased incidences of cataracts. Because cataracts can lead to blindness, the surgery is considered essential.

Jeffrey Wong, Analyst Director at iData Research, says, “In addition to a general increase in the overall patient base due to an aging population, there is also an ongoing demographic shift that will further augment this effect.” Cataract surgery, once delayed for as long as possible and primarily reserved for elderly patients, is increasingly being performed on patients who have yet to reach retirement age. This is supported by several factors, including a growing awareness for cataract surgery, improved patient education and improvements in surgical safety and results, which are a byproduct of advancements in techniques, instrumentation and implants.

A number of trends in the practice of cataract surgery are having a significant impact on the ophthalmic market – in particular, intraocular lens (IOL) sales and the direction of technological innovation. IOLs are synthetic lenses that are used for replacing the natural lens of the eye. They replace lenses that have been clouded by cataracts.

Of the trends, the most prominent is that towards the use of preloaded lens injectors. This trend is linked to the increasing desire among surgeons to perform cataract surgery with smaller incision sizes. The standard incision size is currently 2.2 mm. However, techniques and devices exist that can facilitate cataract surgery with incision sizes as small as 1.8 mm. Preloaded injectors allow for the elimination of several steps in the surgical process and, therefore, contribute to increased efficiency in the operating room. For manufacturers, preloaded injectors are a profitable new type of product, as selling a lens in a preloaded injector can increase the profit margins of the lens. The high margins associated with this approach to lens sales will contribute to the expansion of the market for preloaded injectors, supported by the heightened incidence of cataracts in the United States.

More research on the ophthalmic market and devices related to cataract surgery can be found in the full report suite, titled the U.S. Market for Interventional Ophthalmic Devices 2018, which provides a comprehensive report on units sold, market values, forecasts, average selling prices and procedure volumes, as well as detailed competitive market shares and analysis of all major competitors.

The report includes segments for Intraocular Lens (IOLs), Ophthalmic Viscosurgical Devices (OVDs), Phacoemulsification Consoles, Glaucoma Shunts and Ophthalmic Lasers.