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Diabetics And Cataracts: How To Mitigate Concerns Before And After Eye Surgery

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Diabetics who have cataract surgery generally yield excellent results. Still there's post-operative challenges that eye surgeons must circumvent, notes the ophthalmology site, Healio. Challenges include diabetic eye changes in the retina and in the blood vessels of the eye. By addressing those diabetic changes pre-operatively, eye surgeons can minimize those challenges during treatment.

In Brief: What Cataracts Are

If you have diabetes, you are more likely to get cataracts, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Cataracts happen when light doesn't pass like it should through the lenses in your eyes. Your vision then becomes cloudy or opaque. You will progressively see less if you do not undergo cataracts treatment. Prevention is always best, but if you are diabetic and don't have regular ophthalmology exams, cataracts can sneak up on you at a younger age and impact later treatment.

Mitigating Challenges Before Cataract Surgery

You, as the patient, have the greatest challenges. First, work with your doctor to maintain tight control over your glucose levels. If your diabetes is uncontrolled, this can lead to higher levels of sugar in your eyes. This can create sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, which can combine with an enzyme in your lens that can lead to cataract formation. Be honest about your glucose management regimen.

Second, see an ophthalmologist on a regular basis. Your ophthalmologist can check deep within your eyes for blood sugar changes that can contribute to cataract formation. Your eye surgeon will conduct a thorough pre-operative evaluation of your diabetic and ophthalmologic exam history before deciding how to proceed with your cataract treatment.

And This Is a Good Thing: Knowing The Other Diabetic Concerns Before You Have Cataract Surgery

In order to circumvent post-operative cataract treatment issues, your eye surgeon will discuss with you any of these possible issues:

  • Your immune system: diabetics may have weakened immune systems which can affect healing after surgery. Uncontrolled diabetes suppresses how your body heals itself after surgery.
  • Eye pressure: if your eye pressure fluctuates due to diabetes, your surgeon will consider if your lens implant needs to be changed due to fluctuations in fit.
  • If your diabetes is controlled or uncontrolled affects your retina and your eye pressure.
  • If you have weakened blood vessels in your eyes due to diabetes, you may have issues in healing.

By addressing these issues, should they apply to you, your eye surgeon can give you the best chance for optimal cataract surgery outcome.