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Diabetes doubles chance of developing cataract

By Editor
7th February 2018
Eyecare, Research Screening

People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop cataract when compared to people who do not have the condition, researchers have said.

Findings of a recent study also showed that age bracket where people with diabetes were at greater risk was between 45 and 54.

Researchers from the Anglia Ruskin University analysed medical records from 56,510 people with diabetes aged 40 or over and found that cataract was diagnosed at an overall rate of 20.4 per 1,000. This compares to a rate in the general population of 10.8 per 1,000.

Those aged between 45 and 49 were 4.6 times more likely to develop the eye condition, and people aged between 50 and 54 were five to seven times more at risk than their healthy counterparts.

The study used data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, which covers around 7 per cent of the UK population and is representative of the overall demographic with regard to age, sex and geographic distribution.

Cataract is one of the main causes of global sight loss. In a previous study by the Vision Loss Expert Group, it was revealed that the condition accounted for significant vision loss or blindness in 65 million people worldwide.

Co-author Rupert Bourne, professor of ophthalmology at Anglia Ruskin University’s Vision and Eye Research Unit, 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 significant diabetic retinal disease, called diabetic maculopathy.

“This is only the second such report on cataract incidence in the UK’s diabetic patients since the 1980s and 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.

“This is an interesting example of how a very large primary care dataset of electronic patient data, in this case the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, can be used to investigate risk factors for eye disease.”

The findings have been published in the journal Eye and can be read in full here.

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