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How Diabetes Can Create Cataracts

Dr. James A. McHale Dr. James A. McHale
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Diabetes is a disease that affects the amount of sugar in the blood, and can also cause cataracts. Cataracts cloud the eye’s naturally clear lens, and diabetics are more likely to develop this condition that impairs your vision. Columbus Ophthalmology Associates specializes in eye care for patients with diabetes, and the following video with Dr. McHale shows how we can help restore your eyesight through cataract surgery.

How can diabetes cause cataracts?

It’s caused by the sugar, or glucose in your blood. The aqueous humor, or the fluid filling the front portion of the eye, provides nutrients to the eye’s lens and this fluid is a source for oxygen and glucose. Unchecked diabetes can mean elevated glucose levels, which causes the sugar levels to rise in the aqueous humor and lens. When glucose levels are high, this can cause the lens to swell and effect clarity of vision. Furthermore, the lens has an enzyme that converts glucose to a substance called sorbitrol, which can cause cataracts when built up in the lens over time.

How can you prevent cataracts?

There are two key ways to prevent cataracts with diabetes.
  1. Monitor your blood sugar levels consistently. Making sure your blood sugar levels are controlled is important to keeping your eyes healthy.
  2. Regularly have an exam with your ophthalmologist. Our doctors can detect and provide treatments for eye conditions that can affect your vision.  Visiting your ophthalmologist regularly can ensure that your vision is being monitored closely.

Want to learn more about how diabetes can affect your vision? Watch COA’s Dr. Hickey discuss it here.