Type 2 Diabetes and Cataracts: What is Connection?

Diabetes is a severe health problem that can add to several eye disorders. Are you aware about cataracts is one of them?

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a medical condition in which the pancreas fails to produce adequate, or any, insulin, bringing about too much glucose in the blood. Diverse variations are present in this medical issue, but all might impact the eye. Diabetes may damage particular parts of the eye, such as the retina, lens, vitreous, as well as optic nerve.

Now, let’s understand, what is a cataract?

A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye becomes gloomy, avoiding the passage and focusing on the light rays from the eye to the retina. It can be mild enough that vision gets hardly affected, or so serious which may lead to loss of vision of any shape or movement. Cataracts may result in reduced vision, reduced glare while driving at night, as well as halos around light. And all these may impact any person’s daily activities. 

How does diabetes add to cataracts?

Aqueous humor is present in the eye that supplies oxygen and glucose to the lens of the eye. And aqueous humor is nothing, but a fluid that fills the front of the eye. If any person loses his or her control over their sugar levels like diabetic, his or her glucose levels might rise, resulting in an inflammation of the lens. In turn, this might modify a person’s glasses prescription as well. In addition, the lens is composed of an enzyme responsible for the conversion of glucose into sorbitol. This initiates the collection of sorbitol in the lens which may affect the cells and other proteins, and may even make the lens opaquer. Diabetics are not just more expected to develop cataracts, however, they are more expected to develop them at a younger age as well as their condition may progress more speedily as compared to individuals not having diabetes. Cataracts are 2 to 5 times more recurrent in diabetics than non-diabetics and therefore, may considerably affect a person’s visual function.

Also, if left untreated, high glucose levels in the blood may slowly damage blood vessels all over the body. This may involve the small blood vessels present in the eyes. Also, when diabetes impacts these blood vessels, the risk of eye problems such as cataracts increases to a great extent. When there is an elevation of the blood glucose, the lens gets inflamed, bringing about blurry vision.

Thus, if a person is diabetic, he or she must get their eyes checked frequently. If a person has been diagnosed with diabetes, he or she may ask the concerned healthcare provider to make a reference to an ophthalmologist. Yearly exams might be suggested primarily, however, if the eye doctor observed any modifications, they might ask the person to come in more often. Also, a person can keep his or her eyes healthy by maintaining strict control on blood sugar, blood pressure, as well as cholesterol control. This might be possible using a blend of a good diet for diabetes, regular exercise, and medications as per the suggestion of a doctor.

How can a cataract be treated?

Cataracts can be removed following a 15-minute surgical procedure. Usually, a doctor would make a minor incision in a person’s eye. A small ultrasound probe will disintegrate and remove cataracts, and the placement of a new lens can be done in a person’s eye.

Diabetic patients who have earlier removed their cataracts must still visit their physicians regularly, though. In people with diabetes, the consequences after cataract surgery may not be good, particularly if the diabetic retinal disease is already existing. Due to all these reasons, a diabetic must go for an eye examination at least one time in a year with an eye doctor.

Preventing a cataract if a person is diabetic

If a person has diabetes, he or she can prevent a cataract by controlling their elevated blood glucose levels. This involves monitoring the blood sugar frequently and taking all the prescribed diabetes drugs.

If a person is on insulin or other drugs for diabetes, still his or her blood sugar remains high, a discussion with the concerned healthcare professional is essential. He or she must need to adjust the patient’s medicine.

Also, regular physical activity or exercise keeps tight control over blood sugar levels. Physical activity lets the muscles utilize glucose in a proper way. In addition, it helps in avoiding type 2 diabetes from progressing.

Exercises that work great in stabilizing the glucose levels can be dancing, brisk walking, swimming, biking, hiking, and competitive sports. Other steps that can help in guarding the eyes may involve getting complete eye evaluations at least one time a year, keeping the blood pressure levels within healthy limits, as well as evading the use of tobacco.


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