Diabetes - Can I have cataract surgery if I have diabetes?

If you have diabetes, in most cases, you’ll still be able to have cataract surgery. However, depending on how well-controlled your diabetes is and the extent to which it’s already damaged your eyes, you may be more at risk of developing complications during and after the procedure, so you may need to have your cataract surgery carried out by a specialist vitreoretinal surgeon – which means your wait for treatment may be a little longer than usual.

During your pre-operative assessment, we’ll carry out some tests to make sure your vision loss is caused by cataracts and not other factors like diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. If your eye tests reveal that other conditions are present, they may need to be treated before we can proceed with your cataract surgery.

We’ll also ask you to bring your diabetic record book to your appointments so we can monitor your blood sugar levels in the run-up to your surgery. Your optometrist may recommend delaying cataract surgery if your blood glucose levels are too high.

In some cases, cataract surgery can make diabetic retinopathy worse, so we’ll also need to consider this when planning your treatment too.

Diabetics are also more at risk of developing posterior capsule opacification, a relatively common complication of cataract surgery which is treated through an additional procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy.

In short, although having diabetes can make cataract surgery more challenging, and patients may experience a longer recovery, we’ll make sure you’re well looked-after before, during and after your surgery to ensure your surgery outcomes are as positive as possible.

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