Diabetes is a condition that results when your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it produces. Diabetes causes many complications throughout the body, and while some of them, like foot problems, are well known, other problems may surprise you. Diabetes has also been linked to eye problems such as cataracts. Here are five things that diabetics need to know about this condition.
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What are cataracts?
Your cornea is the clear window in the front of your eye. It covers both your pupil and your iris, and it’s role is to focus light as it enters your eye. Cataracts refer to the clouding of this important lens. The cornea takes on a milky, opaque appearance and light isn’t able to pass through it. People with cataracts suffer from blurred vision, vision loss, or even total blindness.
Does diabetes cause cataracts?
People without diabetics can develop cataracts, but diabetes increases your risk significantly. Diabetics are about 60% more likely to develop cataracts than non-diabetics are. Cataracts form when the proteins that make up your corneas clump together and block light from entering your eye, and when you have diabetes, this process happens faster than it otherwise would. It can also happen at a younger age.
How do optometrists treat cataracts?
If your cataracts are not seriously impacting your vision, your optometrist may recommend leaving them alone. Treatments like prescription glasses or contact lenses may be recommended to improve your remaining vision.
If you have a large degree of vision loss from cataracts, surgery is the only way to fix the problem. If this is necessary for you, your optometrist will surgically remove the cataracts and replace your damaged corneas with donor corneas.
How common are cataracts among diabetics?
Cataracts are a common problem among diabetics. Studies have shown that cataracts are the most common vision problem in people with adult-onset diabetes. Another study found that over a ten-year period, 44% of people with adult-onset diabetes had to undergo cataract surgery.
Can you prevent cataracts?
Diabetes isn’t the only thing that can cause cataracts, but by getting your diabetes under control, you may be able to lower your risk. If you’ve having trouble controlling your blood sugar levels, talk to your family doctor.
Diabetes has been linked to many serious health problems, including cataracts. If you have diabetes and are noticing any changes in your vision, make sure to see your optometrist right away.