PURPOSE - To review the current literature on socioeconomic disparities relationship with cataract prevalence, characteristics, and management.
SUMMARY - Cataracts are an important cause of preventable visual impairment in both the developing and industrialized world. Cataract surgery is a highly effective operation with an excellent risk profile. Furthermore, cataract surgery has been shown to have significant positive functional, social, and economic implications for patients. Several medical conditions have been shown to have correlation with socioeconomic factors and cataract is among several forms of visual impairment that demonstrate this relationship. Disparities in prevalence, clinical characteristics, and management are documented in the ophthalmic literature. A better understanding of these socioeconomic factors and their clinical relevance is critical to alleviating the burden of cataract-related visual impairment in an aging population.