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How Diabetes Affects Cataract Surgery

November 2014 by Dr Nita Shah

The good news is that diabetic cataract surgery is just like standard cataract removal with a couple of special steps in the preparation, timing, and post-operative protections.

Diabetic Cataract

Diabetic Cataract

Diabetic cataracts tend to come on at a slightly younger age. They increase suddenly especially with fluctuation of the Blood Sugar levels.Having said that, it is not harder to remove diabetic cataracts.

Preoperative Preparation for Diabetes and Cataract

Preoperative Preparation for Diabetes and Cataract

Some patients with diabetic cataracts develop swelling in the center of their retina called Diabetic Macular Edema. If this is detected in your preoperative visit, then your eye surgeon will likely postpone your surgery for a while so you will have time to visit the retinal specialist to have this treated and under control before the surgery.

If you have any active infections in your body, then it is wise to alert your eye doctor and to have those treated and well controlled prior to your diabetic cataract surgery.

Timing of Diabetic Cataract Surgery

Timing of Diabetic Cataract Surgery

When the Diabetologist and retinologist feels you are stable for surgery, then you can proceed. On the actual day of the procedure there are some special considerations because of your blood sugars.

We try to schedule those with diabetes the first few cases of surgery so we can help you return to a normal eating schedule as quickly as possible. We check your urine and if needed blood sugar soon after arriving at the surgical center and can make adjustments in your sugar level.

Post Operative Protections for Diabetic Cataract

Post Operative Protections for Diabetic Cataract

I ask my friends with diabetic cataracts to start taking anti-inflammatory drops prior to their cataract surgery and then to continue them for two months after surgery. This is to decrease the chance of inflammation and swelling from the surgery reaching the back of your eye to cause Cystoid Macular Edema (CME).

In addition, if there is any question, I have you revisit your retinal specialist about a month after diabetic cataract surgery to double check the macula. They have a number of treatments available to help if swelling does develop, but we prefer to prevent it in the first place.

It is important to consider both your cataract and your diabetes as we plan for your cataract removal. We want to make your diabetic cataract removal as successful and safe as possible so you can have great vision. Ensuring the proper planning and protection of your vision is well worth the time you spend to put everything in your favor for your cataracts and diabetes.

If I can answer any further questions about diabetic cataract, please send me a note or schedule a time to meet with me at my office.

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