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Diabetes patients are TWICE as likely to develop cataracts - the leading cause of blindness across the world, 15-year study reveals
Diabetics are twice as likely to develop cataracts than adults who don't suffer from the killer condition, new research suggests.
Women sufferers had the greatest risk of cataracts - the leading cause of blindness across the world that starts as a clouding of the lens in the eye. And the 15-year study concluded that middle-aged patients were nearly six times more likely to develop the vision-robbing condition.It is unsure why diabetes leads to cataracts, however, charities consider it a known complication for adults with poorly managed blood sugar levels.
The latest study involved a team of international researchers from Anglia Ruskin University, University Hospitals Bristol, Switzerland and Boston University. It aimed to assess incidence rates of cataracts in 56,000 patients, all aged over 40, with diabetes. Cataracts are a known complication of diabetes.
The participants were all followed for 15 years to determine the link between the two conditions, which has existed for years. The research, published in the journal Eye, found that cataracts was diagnosed at an overall rate of 20.4 per 1,000 people with diabetes. In comparison, just 10.8 per 1,000 of the general population were diagnosed with cataracts - which is also linked to smoking and boozing.
Diabetics aged between 45 and 54 were considerably more likely than non-sufferers to develop cataract, with their risk being 4.6 times higher. And those aged between 50 and 54 were nearly 6 times more likely to develop cataracts, according to the results.
Professor Rupert Bourne, co-author, at Anglia Ruskin University, said: 'Cataract is the primary cause of blindness worldwide. 'It is defined as a decrease in the transparency of the crystalline lens and can be further differentiated into nuclear, cortical, or posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC). 'Main risk factors in the developed world, besides advanced age, appear to be smoking, exposure to sunlight, and use of corticosteroids.
A potential association between female gender and cataract remains controversial. Several studies have reported diabetes as a risk factor for cataract.