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Cataract and Diabetes: Are they interrelated?

Cataract

Dr Kiran
Dr Kiran
4 min read

Did you know that cataract and diabetes are interrelated?
Diabetes is a serious condition that can contribute to a number of eye diseases and cataract is one of them.

What is Diabetes?
It is a condition in which pancreas does not produce enough, or any, insulin, resulting in an excess of sugar in the blood. There are different variations of this disease, that all can affect the eye. Diabetes can harm specific parts of the eye, including the retina, vitreous, lens, and optic nerve.

What is Cataract?
Cataract is when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, preventing light rays from clearly passing through and focusing on the retina. It may be mild enough that vision is barely affected, or so severe that no shapes or movements can be seen. Cataracts caused decreased vision, glare while driving at night, and halos around light all of which can impact everyday function.

How Cataract and Diabetes are related?
From the aqueous humor the lens of the eye gets oxygen and glucose, which is the fluid that fills the front of the eye. If someone doesn’t have control over their glucose levels such as someone with diabetes the sugar levels can rise, causing the lens to swell. This in turn can change your glasses prescription. Additionally, the lens has an enzyme that converts glucose into sorbitol. Sorbitol collecting in the lens can affect cells and other proteins, which can make the lens opaquer.

People with diabetes are not just more likely to develop cataracts, but they are likely to develop them at a younger age and have them progress faster than people without diabetes, too.

Cataracts are two to five times more frequent in patients with diabetes than patients without diabetes and thus can significantly impact visual function in the working population.

How can you protect your Eyes affecting from Diabetes?
If you have diabetes, you should get your eyes checked regularly. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, ask your doctor to refer you to an ophthalmologist. Yearly exams are recommended initially, but if your eye doctor notices any changes, they may ask you to come in more frequently. You can also keep your eyes healthy by maintaining

    • tight blood sugar
    • blood pressure
    • cholesterol control

This can be maintained through a combination of a good diet, regular exercise, and taking the medicines your doctor prescribes.

How Cataracts are treated?
Cataracts are removed through a 15-minute surgical procedure; your doctor will make a minor incision in your eye. A small ultrasound enquiry will break up and remove your cataracts, and a new lens will be placed in your eye. Diabetic patients who have cataracts removed should still visit their doctor regularly, though. For more information, make an appointment with your nearest eye doctor.