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The Link Between Cataracts, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure

time to read 5 minutes

Treatment Options and Special Considerations


Do you have diabetes or high blood pressure? If yes, then you should get your eyes screened for cataract regularly. Cataract is likely to start early in people who have both or even one of these chronic conditions and occurs more frequently in these people. Why does this happen?


There is a physiological reason for it. High blood sugar or high blood pressure causes some changes to the proteins present in the lens of the eye and this process hardens the lens and makes it less transparent14. Research has shown that diabetes increases the risk of cataract by four times in people below the age of 65 years15. Cataract can occur in people with diabetes who are as young as 40 years16 of age. Research also shows that in people of the same age, the risk of cataract is 1.2 times higher in those who have high blood pressure than in those who do not17.


It is important to know that with advanced surgical techniques, cataract surgery is safe for people with diabetes and high blood pressure if they take, the necessary precautions18.


Catch it early, catch it in time
An early cataract diagnosis ensures that any risk of complication during surgery is minimized, if not eliminated. First the eye surgeon checks whether the patient suffers from any other eye condition which needs attention before the surgery. Take for example, diabetic retinopathy. At an early stage of cataract, it is possible to diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy before cataract surgery and avoid any complications19. This is why people who suffer from either diabetes or high blood pressure are advised to go for regular eye checks.


Control the condition
Patients who have diabetes or high blood pressure need good, steady control of their blood sugar and pressure levels well before surgery. The eye surgeon will check for optimal levels required for a safe cataract surgery and if there is any variation, will confer with the patient’s personal doctor to ensure that these are brought under control before the surgery. This can bring down the cataract surgery complications.

Follow doctor’s recommendations
There are a number of excellent intraocular lenses available for cataract patients who suffer from high blood pressure. For people with diabetes, some of these lenses are suitable, others are not20,21. Your doctor will guide you to make the right choice.


Finally, follow all the instructions given by the eye surgeon before and after the surgery, particularly where medicines are concerned. This will ensure that you have safe and effective cataract surgery and get clear vision post-surgery.

A doctor talking to a patient
Ophthalmologist talking to the patient
Ophthalmologist talking to the patient



You have options when it comes to your intraocular lenses. Lead the conversation with your doctor to understand the cataract lens choice that’s right for you.


Ophthalmologist talking to the patient
Ophthalmologist talking to the patient



Use the Practice Locator tool to locate a surgeon near you who offers a range of cataract lens options.


Ophthalmologist talking to the patient
Ophthalmologist talking to the patient



Have you or your loved one been diagnosed with cataracts? Take this quiz to check if you know enough about cataracts and cataract surgery.


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