Formation – How long do cataracts take to develop?

Cataracts tend to be age-related, and usually develop later in life(1). Of course, eye injury and myriad other factors can affect this, and lead to cataracts developing earlier in some people.

Once they’re present in a person’s eyes, there is no way to predict how long cataracts will take to develop to the point where they are impeding vision and need surgery. Although, once you have had cataracts for a few years, it’s possible for your optician to make an educated guess – based on the speed of development up to that point, an eye test, and what type of cataracts you have – on how quickly their development will continue. There is, however, no guarantee that the speed of development will remain, or has been, consistent.

Age-related cataracts do tend to develop fairly slowly, but this isn’t definitive. If you think that you may have cataracts, book an appointment with your optician as quickly as possible and they will advise you on the best course of action for you to take.



  1. NHS UK: Age-related cataracts

Other related questions

  • UV radiation – How does UV radiation cause cataracts?

  • Colour – Do cataracts affect colour vision?

  • Symptoms – Can you see cataracts?

  • Vertigo – Can cataracts cause vertigo?

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