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People with diabetes twice as likely to develop cataracts

A new report analysed the medical records of 56,510 UK-based diabetes patients aged 40 or over

07 Feb 2018 by Andrew McClean

People living with diabetes are twice as likely to develop cataracts, according to new research.

The research, which was published in the journal Eye and funded by pharmaceutical company Alimera Sciences, also revealed that the risk of developing cataracts is highest in those aged between 45 and 54.

Co-author of the report and professor of ophthalmology at Anglia Ruskin University’s vision and eye research unit, Rupert Bourne, said: “The report has shown that having diabetes doubles your risk of being diagnosed with a cataract, and that this risk is six times higher if a diabetic patient has diabetic maculopathy.”

Researchers analysed the medical records of 56,510 UK-based patients with diabetes aged 40 or over, and found that cataract was diagnosed at an overall rate of 20.4 per 1000 people. The rate in the general population is 10.8 per 1000.

Patients with diabetes aged between 45 and 49 were 4.6 times more likely to develop cataracts, and those with diabetes aged between 50 and 54 were 5.7 times more at risk than their healthy counterparts, the report revealed.

Professor Bourne added that this is only the second report on cataract incidence in the UK’s diabetic patients since the 1980s. “It further emphasises the importance of the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening programme in early identification and treatment of diabetic eye disease to prevent sight loss,” he said. 

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