Cataracts and Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Published: 2023-12-13

Cataracts, a common eye condition often associated with aging, can pose additional challenges when diabetes is in the picture. In this article we will cover what cataracts are, how diabetes exacerbates them, and the available options for managing diabetic cataracts.

Cataracts and Diabetes: What You Need to Know

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, leading to blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing at night. While cataracts are a natural part of aging, conditions like diabetes can speed up their formation. While a healthy lifestyle and good sun protection can potentially help slow the development of a cataract, surgery is often required to restore good quality vision. 

How Does Diabetes Affect Cataracts?

Diabetes has profound effects on every part of the body including your eyes. High levels of blood sugar associated with diabetes can accelerate the formation and progression of cataracts. This means that individuals who are diabetics will develop cataracts, and will require cataract surgery, sooner than their non-diabetic counterparts. According to a recent study, diabetic individuals under the age of 65 are three to four times more likely to develop cataracts compared to non-diabetics. 

How is a Cataract Treated?

If a cataract is detected in its early stages, your doctor may recommend close observation along with tight sugar control. This can include lifestyle and diet changes, regular blood glucose monitoring, and UV protection via glasses or sunglasses. Early cataract detection is just one benefit of annual diabetic eye exams. However, your doctor may recommend that you come in more often depending on your individual eye health. 

If your cataracts are more advanced and are causing visual symptoms, obscuring the retina, or leading to changes in eye pressure, your eye doctor may recommend cataract surgery. While the idea of surgery might sound scary, cataract surgery is very common and many people experience great outcomes. 

What Is Cataract Surgery? 

Cataract surgery involves extracting the cloudy lens inside your eye and replacing it with a clear intraocular lens implant (IOL). Modern technology has allowed for surgery that is safer than ever. Many advanced cataract surgeons use laser-assisted technology for a more precise surgery with fewer long-term side effects. You can also choose between a variety of lens implants; some implants even allow you to stop wearing glasses altogether. Your eye doctor will review your surgical options during your appointment. 

While cataracts naturally occur with age, patients who are diabetic will develop cataracts sooner than their non-diabetic counterparts. Getting an eye exam at least one per year can help with early detection and timely treatment of cataracts.

At Benjamin Eye Institute, we pride ourselves in the use of the latest surgical and the IOL technology. Dr. Benjamin is a board certified ophthalmologist who specializes in cataract surgery. With nearly three decades of experience, Dr. Benjamin is committed to improving patients outcomes through the use of the best-available intraocular lenses and laser-assisted cataract surgical technology.

Dr. Irina Yakubin, OD

Clinical and Metaverse Optometrist at Benjamin Eye Institute

Call us today to book your appointment 310.275.5533