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Cataract surgery and diabetes

Diabetes promotes the formation of cataract. Diabetes itself does not have an impact on the timing and performance of cataract surgery itself. However diabetic control and diabetic complications can have an impact on the choice of intraocular lens (IOL) style placed in your eye after the cataract is removed. Diabetic control and complications can also have an impact on the rate at which rare complications after cataract surgery occur.

Diabetics are at greater risk of retinal swelling after surgery. Your retina is “the film in the camera” and is the layer of nerves lining the inside of the back of your eye. Your retina captures light and turns it into electrical signals, transmitting them to your brain. The most “high definition” part of your retina is the macula. Swelling or “water logging” of the macula, called Cystoid macula edema (CME) is the second commonest (about 1/100) complication following cataract surgery. At Cataract Surgery SA we routinely suggest you use anti-inflammatory drops, both steroidaly and nonsteroidal) to reduce the risk of CME.

After cataract surgery there is an increased risk of new onset diabetic retinopathy and progression of pre-existing diabetic retinopathy so we do look for these before and after your cataract surgery. The chances of this happening are higher if you also have high blood pressure.

Therefore if you have cataract and are contemplating cataract surgery in the future and are diabetic, it is a good idea to discuss with your health care team keeping your blood sugar and pressure control as good as possible, particularly around the time of cataract surgery.