Cataracts and Diabetes

Cataracts are cloudy opacifications of the lens of the eye
Cataracts are cloudy opacifications of the lens of the eye

Cataracts are one of the sight-related complications of diabetes. The closer you manage your diabetes, the more likely you are to avoid any diabetes complications.

However, understanding more about diabetes and cataracts may help you to identify this complication at an early stage and seek treatment.

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are cloudy opacifications of the lens of the eye. This interferes with your vision, in some cases considerably.

What causes cataracts?

The lens of the eye is made up of fluids that contain protein.

Due to increasing ages and a variety of other factors, over time this fluid may start to cloud over. That said, cataracts have been reported in newborn babies so it isn’t simply down to age.

Does diabetes increase the risk of cataracts?

Diabetes is one of the key factors that result in the development of cataracts.

Although the reasons why are still not fully understood, people with diabetes mellitus statistically face a 60% greater risk of developing cataracts.

As with most complications of diabetes, maintaining good control of your blood sugar levels will help to reduce your risk.

In addition, research has shown that people with type 2 diabetes who lower their HbA1c level by just 1% can reduce their risk of cataracts by 19%. [1]

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Early stage cataract symptoms may barely influence the vision, and a cataract diagnosis may come as a genuine surprise.

Challenging visual situations such as driving at night and bright sunlight may cause your sight to become hazy.

How are cataracts treated?

Cataract treated has advanced considerably in recent years. Surgery is often prescribed, with the lens removed and replaced with an artificial one. Cataract surgery is widely recommended and is commonly performed.

Your ophthalmologist will determine whether you need cataract surgery.

When do cataracts require an operation?

Cataract surgery is generally safe, so the point at which an operation is undertaken depends partly on the individual. Cataract operations are typically day cases, with the local anaesthetic often cited as the most uncomfortable part.

For people with diabetes, there is a slightly greater risk of developing more serious problems such as macula oedema, diabetic retinopathy complications, and infections as a result of the surgery.

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