The average American will be diagnosed with eyesight cancer in their early 50s, according to a new survey from the National Center for Health Statistics.
While the average age of the diagnosed patients will increase from the current 50 to 58 years, the average number of years between initial diagnosis and the first surgery will rise from about six years to seven.
This will mean a lot of patients will be on a waiting list for surgeries and that could have long-term effects.
“A person with a diagnosis of acute myopia (myopia that affects vision) who is younger than age 60 is the most likely to develop this disease and is more likely to have a longer life expectancy,” the authors wrote in the study.
“If they are older, the number of treatments is lower.”
The number of surgeries that a person is on a waitlist for can vary wildly depending on the severity of their eyesight problems.
In some cases, the waitlist is so long that a patient is denied surgery until they have already had a second eye operation.
Others are just waiting for their doctor to tell them to get on the waiting list.
While these surgeries may not seem like a lot, if they are successful, they can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“People with acute myopeia who have been on the list for too long will eventually be able to get surgery, but their vision will be compromised,” the study authors wrote.
“For patients with the most advanced forms of myopia, the waiting lists will only get longer and longer and the chance of success is greatly reduced.”
The researchers also found that while more people with a genetic mutation that makes them susceptible to acute myopes are now diagnosed with acute optic neuritis, they are still a much smaller percentage of the overall population.
The researchers did not identify which mutations were responsible for the increase in the number and severity of acute optic neuropathy.
There is some evidence that the increase could be linked to a specific genetic mutation in a gene called the FcN1 gene.
According to the National Eye Institute, there are more than 500 genes that influence the risk of developing acute optic nerve neuropathy in people.
The FcNN1 gene is a gene that is involved in the formation of new blood vessels.
It also influences the way that blood vessels in the optic nerve connect to other areas of the brain, according the National Institutes of Health.
The authors say this gene may be involved in causing the increased incidence of acute ocular neuritis.
“Our findings indicate that there is some association between increased susceptibility to acute optic nerves neuropathy and increased prevalence of Fcnn1 gene variants,” they wrote.
The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE.
Image source: National Eye Foundation via Wikimedia Commons