Diabetes is no stranger to us. We all know at least one person with the disease. It is commonly known as a disease wherein the blood sugar level is too high. Diabetes over a period of time can be fatal and can cause a wide range of health problems that include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, dental disease, nerve damage, and foot problems. Talking about eye problems, it was found that early diagnosis and subsequent treatment of diabetic retinopathy or maculopathy can help regulate favorable visual outcomes before cataract surgery in diabetic patients.

What is a cataract?

Our eyes, much like a camera, has a natural lens that enables us to see. A cataract is a cloudy layer made of proteins in the eye. These protein clumps and that forms over the lens of the eye, thus attenuating one’s vision. If not operated soon, it can lead to complete blindness. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness, affecting over 20 million people worldwide.

Cataract and Diabetes

One of the most common and major factors that contribute to the formation of cataracts is diabetes. It is recommended before eye lens opacity impedes a detailed fundus examination. Though can be cured through surgery, diabetics, as compared to non-diabetics face greater risks of complications after phacoemulsification cataract surgery. Moreover, while an ophthalmic procedure is the most common cure for diabetes, there is hardly any way to prevent cataracts in a diabetic.

Complications in surgery

While a cataract can be operated successfully, people with diabetes have shown to have poorer vision after surgery than a non-diabetic patient. Surgery may cause rapid acceleration of retinopathy, induce rubeosis or lead to macular changes, such as macular edema or cystoid macular edema. The worst outcomes may occur in operated eyes with active proliferative retinopathy and/or preexisting macular edema. These are just some of the complications that arise due to diabetes. Doctors have to make sure they study the case well before going ahead with cataract surgery in diabetic patients. Also, a person with diabetes will face a higher risk of inflammation and the maturation of macular edema or cystoid edema. Worst post-operative outcomes are seen in eyes with active proliferative retinopathy or/and preexisting macular edema.

Role of Phacoemulsification

Today, phacoemulsification is the favored technique in the treatment of most types of cataracts since 1996. this technique reduces postoperative inflammation and astigmatism and leads to rapid visual rehabilitation. However it is important to note though Phacomulsification is impressive, it is not the only mode of treatment. Patients should make sure the ophthalmologist in concern is familiar with modern methods of treatment and the surgeon should ensure they check the patient for any preexisting complications.