The Risk For Cataract Doubles With Diabetes

Individuals with diabetes are at twice the risk for developing cataract compared to the general population. The risk is greatest for those between 45 and 54 years of age.

Cataract is a primary cause of sight problems worldwide, responsible for substantial vision loss or blindness in about 65 million people. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, cataract affects more than 24.4 million Americans aged 40 and above. The condition is characterized by progressive opaqueness in the eye’s lens.

Some UK researchers studied the medical records of 56,510 diabetes patients, aged 40 and above, and determined that cataract was diagnosed in 20.4 out of 1,000 people. The rate of cataract in the general population is about half that, at 10.8 per 1,000.

Further, the risk for cataract was 4.6 times greater in the 45 to 49 age group, and 5.7 times greater for those 50 to 54.

Data for the study were taken from the UK’s Clinical Practice Research Datalink, which represents the overall population regarding age, sex, and geographic distribution.

“The report has shown that having diabetes doubles your risk of being diagnosed with a cataract, and that this risk is six times higher if a diabetic patient has significant diabetic retinal disease, called diabetic maculopathy,” said researcher Rupert Bourne, Professor of Ophthalmology at Anglia Ruskin University's Vision and Eye Research Unit.

The UK study results, published in the journal Eye, are a reminder of the need for annual eye examinations.

Source: Science Daily; AAO
Photo credit: Kamaljith K V

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