If you have diabetes, you know it’s important to keep your blood sugar under control to lower your risk of all kinds of complications, from nerve damage to kidney problems to heart attacks. You might not have been aware that diabetes can also affect your sight.
You may think of cataracts as a condition that only happens as you grow older. However, if you’re diabetic, you may be up to five times as likely to develop cataracts as someone who doesn’t have it — and at an early age, as well, compared to others who get cataracts.
Dr. Stephen Khachikian is a board-certified ophthalmologist who performs expert cataract surgery and treats many patients with diabetes in and around Rapid City, South Dakota. If you’re diabetic, here’s what you need to know about the connection between diabetes and early cataracts.
What is a cataract?
If you have cataracts, light can’t travel through the lens in your eyes as it should. The lens become cloudy, so you can’t see normally. Cataracts are most common in seniors because as you age, the lens in your eyes may become thicker and less clear.
However, cataracts can develop earlier, particularly if you have a chronic health condition like diabetes.
Following are common cataract symptoms:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Double vision in an eye
- Seeing circles that look like halos around lights
- Increased sensitivity to glare and bright light
- Difficulty driving at night
- Colors are less bright than they used to be
- Changing glasses or contact prescriptions often
If you have any of these issues, please call our office and we’ll make sure you get an appointment promptly. If you need surgery, Dr. Khachikian maintains a close watch on your eyes before surgery and postoperatively to ensure success.
Why am I more likely to get cataracts if I have diabetes?
When you have diabetes, changes in blood sugar levels over a period of time can alter the structure of the lens in your eyes and lead to cataracts.
Your eye’s aqueous humor, the fluid, delivers critical nutrients, including oxygen and glucose. Spikes in blood sugar can lead to too much glucose in the eye’s lens, which can swell and eventually become cloudy. Now you’ve developed cataracts.
In the beginning stages of cataracts, symptoms may be minimal, but they progress rapidly. That’s why it’s important to maintain a regular schedule of eye appointments when you have diabetes.
If you’re diabetic and you’re concerned about your eye health, call Dr. Stephen Khachikian or book an appointment online. We help you see clearly.