Cataracts and Diabetes: Partners in Crime

We’ve all heard of diabetes and cataracts, but did you know the two can be very closely tied? Diabetes is a condition which makes those who suffer from it very prone to developing other conditions. One of these conditions, among many, is cataract development.

Cataracts are an extremely common condition, not just affecting those with diabetes. The real difference, though, is that diabetics have a greater risk of developing cataracts early in life. While non-diabetics generally develop cataracts in their late 60’s and 70’s, diabetics can develop cataracts in their 40’s and 50’s or earlier.

Not all cases of cataracts are related to diabetes, of course. But research has shown that those with diabetes have a much greater risk of developing eye diseases such as this. Curious as to how these two common conditions can be related? Read on.

Cataracts and Diabetes: How are they Related?

How do diabetics have an increased risk of cataract development? Well, it all goes back to glucose levels. Glucose is a simple sugar, which is a big component to the fluid inside of our eye. This fluid is responsible for providing nourishment to the eye.

When diabetes goes unchecked for a period of time, the glucose in the eye spikes and causes the development of a substance called sorbitol. Sorbitol collects on the lens inside of the eye, affecting the lens proteins. This causes the lens to become opaque, leading to cataracts.

How do you prevent this?

Well, the easiest way to prevent early-onset cataracts is through proper diabetic care. Making sure blood sugar levels are kept in check is paramount.

Diabetics are also encouraged to visit the eye doctor at least once a year to catch any diabetes-related eye conditions early on. If caught early, your eye doctor can help you slow the progression of cataracts through lifestyle changes. They can then monitor progression to determine when cataract surgery may be necessary.

Cataracts range from annoying to debilitating, and eventually lead to blindness. If you are worried about developing cataracts or would like to discuss cataract removal, contact our experts at the Santa Monica Eye Medical Group today!

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