Diabetes and early Cataracts

I have early cataracts and now have found out I may be diabetic. Yet I read that when it is time for a cataract operation, the risks on diabetic eyes is great.

So do I live with cataracts or are there new techniques to safely and successfully operate on diabetic eyes? I treasure my eyesight and this is a bitter blow if nothing can be done.

20 Replies

  • Please check out the website for Diabetes Research and Wellness and click on the part for information on eye health. The address is: drwf.org.uk/diabetes-leaflets. You can download the information or listen for the audio version.

  • Thanks for the information Activity - very much appreciate it.

  • You're welcome.

  • I am a Type 2 diabetic of 26 years and age 69. I have just had both cataracts replaced (One at a time) and was told by both the consultant that generally speaking Diabetics tend to need them done earlier than most. The operation is pain free and takes about 20 minutes, most of the time besides that is in having anesthetic eye drops and resting afterwards. Had mine done by NHS and it was a great experience. I have now been able to ditch my distance glasses and only need readers. Colours are wonderful now

  • Oh that is encouraging news, Bumley - I should just always come to this site instead of googling up sometimes dubious information. I DID hear it was painless, and my mother had hers done at 65 a long time ago. But of course I read some side effects and get unduly rifled.

    I'm happy for you and glad it was a success!

  • My mother has advanced macular degeneration as a result of diabetes. A few years ago she also had cataracts. The doctor explained that the macular degeneration was likely to mean that the operation in one eye would probably make little difference but that the operation could go ahead if she wanted it - which she did.

    If there were any risks associated specifically with the diabetes I'm sure they would have been aired as issues when discussing the operation.

    She felt that the operation did give her a bit of her vision back despite the scepticism of the specialist she saw.

    Really hope that your operation goes well.

  • Hi Gambit, I'm waiting to see what the blood results say at this point. I'm glad your mother went ahead despite the skeptism of the specialist inasmuch as she did regain some of her sight.

    I have early cataracts which means I'm not quite ready for an operation yet - I don't have that cloudiness symptom.

    Thanks for your advice and it's gratifying to hear other people's stories on this topic.

    All the best,


  • Diabetes on its own shouldn't affect cataract surgery. My best friend who has had type 2 diabetes for 20 years has just had her first cataract removed with no issues.

    NB macular degeneration is the most common eye condition to affect sight in the elderly. It is NOT caused by diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is the eye condition which can be caused by poor control of diabetes. Diabetics are checked every year at an eye clinic for this condition.

  • You don't have to wait until your cataract is very cloudy it's the way the NHS control the waiting list. I have type 2 diabetes and as I was working I didn't want to be part of that list so I went private. I had my cataracts taken out one week apart, no pain aftercare is drops to eyes. As I was getting them done private I had one replacement lens for distance and one for near vision. The NHS only provides near replacement lens for both eyes. Hope this is helpful.

  • Not true Alybill. I've had both eyes done and replacement lenses are both distance lenses-brilliant and painless and free of charge. Foir the first time in 50 years I don't need distance glasses - just a cheap pair of readers from the supermarket. Jobs a good un. Support your NHS.

  • I was only repeating what my ophthalmologist told me. He said years ago when trials were done with the long and short distance lens the NHS footed the bill but not now which a pity. Like you I no longer have to wear glasses which I think is great after wearing them for 52 years.

  • I'm glad to hear that because I don't want to wait around until they're cloudy. Will go private in the next couple of weeks and hope the surgeon agrees too.

  • That was very helpful Alybill as I didn't realize this. I have PPP so I think I will definitely have them done privately. Thanks again for that information.

  • I just wanted to update on my topic and also like to thank everyone who replied. The doctor called me and said I did not have diabetes after all - my glucose level was 5 and everything else seemed fine.

    I still will be following this topic as my sister got Type 1 at the age of 46, and I think of her welfare on a daily basis.

    Thanks once again,


  • Anytime! Keep in touch with the group.

  • Nagging Nelly here again. The reason the guy from Specsavers wanted me to have a blood test before giving another prescription was because he (now) said my eyes have significantly changed over a year.

    I thought eyes levelled off in your 60's, but apparently not in my case.

    I had laser eye surgery 7 years ago and it was successful for about 5 years. Then the whole charade started again with light reading glasses which was fine with me. But as time moved on, stronger reading glasses, and finally driving glasses.

    To conclude, I think I will go to an opthamologist next time for detailed insight into questions that can be answered right there and then.

  • I had a friend who had to get two sets of eyeglasses because the vision always changed depending on her blood sugars every few days.

  • So you're saying, Activity, that even though I don't have diabetes my blood sugars could be off?

    What I don't understand is when the Spec guy examined my eyes, he said 'it isn't because of your early cataracts - this is in a completely different direction.' It was very vague on his part. I want more information when I go in to be fitted for the new glasses next week.

    Should I go see an opthamologist to be fully checked out?

  • Yes. See an ophthalmologist and find out what they want you to do. Please let us know what they say.

  • Hi am shakeel am diabetic am not take medformin I take a glass of margoge juice in morning and for cataract put meil in eye everyday at night

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