As a cataract specialist in Amarillo, Dr. Murrell is particularly careful to obtain a comprehensive medical history on patients whose vision has become blurry or cloudy. According to statistics, people with diabetes have an increased risk for several eye diseases, including cataracts and glaucoma. Generally speaking, cataracts can be corrected by replacing the clouded lens with an artificial lens. The artificial lens, called an intraocular lens or IOL, can even be made to correct certain vision problems. In the case of diabetes, cataract removal surgery often carries increased risks. Here, we look at these two common eye diseases and what patients may do to protect their eyes.
A cataract may develop in one eye or both and may progress differently in each eye. The condition is not transferable, meaning it does not spread from one eye to the other. Cataracts form out of protein deposits on the lens of the eye. It is believed that cataracts are more often diagnosed in diabetic patients because of higher levels of sorbitol (a glucose product) in the eyes.
Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure inside the eye elevates and becomes difficult to manage. Increased eye pressure compresses the optic nerve and can cause vision loss if not managed or corrected with ophthalmic surgery.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month
As we honor diabetes awareness month, it is important that we discuss the signs of cataracts and how a person with diabetes can reduce their overall risks of diabetic eye disease.
Cataract symptoms include:
- Blurry or cloudy vision
- Colors do not appear as vibrant as they once did
- Double-vision in one eye
- Glares or halos around lights, which may be particularly noticeable at night
- Light sensitivity
- Ongoing vision problems even with prescription glasses
If signs of cataracts develop, patients are advised to consult with an ophthalmologist right away. The more quickly a proper diagnosis is made, the better the outcome of treatment can be. Diabetic patients may need to work with their eye doctor as well as their general healthcare team to first get blood sugar under control and then, if applicable, discuss the value versus risks of cataract removal surgery.