With June being Cataract Awareness Month, we thought it would be a great time to shed some light on this eye condition and it’s connection with diabetes. Unfortunately, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in our country. Cataracts also top the list of conditions that cause blindness around the world.
Cataracts occur when the lens of a person’s eyes become cloudy and interfere with the way light passes through their eye. A healthy eye lens should be clear and transparent, helping with focus and image transmission to the brain.
Approximately 32% of diabetic adults over 45 years of age suffer from cataracts. If blood sugar levels aren’t kept in control, diabetics can experience damage to the tiny blood vessels in their eyes. This can lead to cataracts due to swelling in the lens of the eye.
Typically, cataracts form around the same time in both eyes. They may grow at different rates for each eye and stop getting worse at different times. Cataracts can develop quickly or slowly and stop growing on their own.
Although people with cataracts don’t experience pain, they can experience the following issues with their vision:
- Seeing less vivid colors
- Experiencing lights with halos around with them
- Misty or blurry vision
- Yellow vision
- Double vision
- Feeling a layer or film on the eyes
- Milky spots in the pupil of the eye
Although it may seem like cataracts would be easy to catch, they are actually quite hard to notice in early stages. For this reason it is very important to regularly visit your eye doctor for check-ups. They can help diagnose cataracts before they become serious and start impairing vision. This can be especially problematic for those that drive at night and need to see clearly without light issues.
Unfortunately, people with diabetes have a 60% higher risk of developing cataracts than people that don’t have diabetes. Keeping blood sugar levels in control can help lower this risk however, so lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
You may be wondering what kinds of things cause cataracts. There are a few different factors that can lead to this eye condition, such as:
- Cigarette use
- Family history of cataracts
Over 95% of cataracts are actually age-related and occur in people over the age of 40. Sometimes trauma to the eye can also lead to cataracts, resulting from damage to the lens from various impacts. Other times, cataracts can be inherited or caused by infection or inflammation during pregnancy.
Thankfully, there are good treatments available for people suffering from cataracts. Cataract surgeries are a good solution and millions of people undergo these procedures every year. During surgery, the lens is taken off and switched out with an artificial lens.
Doctors often recommend this surgery as treatment has advanced significantly in recent years. They are short procedures that are performed under local anaesthesia. Although these procedures are generally safe, people with diabetes do have a slightly higher risk of developing more serious problems or infections from undergoing surgery.
In conclusion, cataracts are a serious but treatable eye condition that affects millions of people around the world. If left untreated, they can lead to significant vision loss or even blindness. Visiting your eye doctor for an annual exam is a great way to identify any red flags and diagnose cataracts before they get too serious.
For people with diabetes, keeping blood sugar levels in control can help reduce the risk of cataracts significantly. To learn more or book an appointment, please contact us today!