Does Diabetes Cause Cataract Formation?

Dr. Mai-Vy Hoang 11/30/2016

cataract-eye.pngIf you have diabetes, you should be aware of the wide-ranging impact it can have on your health. Diabetes is an especially grave threat to the eyes. In fact, diabetes has the potential to induce the formation of cataracts that can severely limit one's ability to see with clarity and precision. Those who suffer from diabetes are much more likely to be saddled with cataracts than those who are non-diabetic.

A Brief Look at Cataracts

Cataracts have the potential to drastically diminish one's eyesight. This condition occurs when the eye's normally clear lens turns cloudy. The newly opaque lens blocks light from passing through. This blockage prevents light from being reflected to the retina. The retina is a tissue located in the back portion of the eye that is sensitive to light. The result is blurry or distorted vision. Diabetes speeds up the development of cataracts in adult patients. Diabetes also prompts an earlier formation of cataracts in young patients.

How, Exactly, Does Diabetes Spur Cataract Formation?

The answer to this question centers on glucose, also referred to as sugar. The lens of the eye obtains its vital nutrients from the fluid within the front segment of the eye known as the aqueous humor. The aqueous humor sends glucose and oxygen to the lens. Glucose is necessary as it serves as a critically important energy source.

An individual who has trouble controlling his glucose levels will experience a heightened sugar level in the aqueous humor as well as the lens. An uptick in glucose within the lens forces swelling that reduces vision quality. Furthermore, there is an enzyme in the lens that turns glucose into sorbitol. As sorbitol collects in the lens it impacts proteins and cells, forcing the lens to lose clarity. As time progresses, this condition causes cataract formation.

How Diabetics Can Prevent Cataract Formation

The best ways to prevent cataract formation are to control one's blood sugar and have a yearly eye exam performed by a thorough eye doctor. Diabetic patients should develop a rapport with their primary care physician and eye doctor to learn about the many ways in which blood glucose levels can be controlled. Maintaining the proper glucose level allows the lenses in the eyes to remain clear. An annual eye exam is critically important as it provides your eye doctor the opportunity to identify problems in the eye and suggest appropriate treatment. Schedule an appointment with Broome Optical today to learn more about your eye health.

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