People with diabetes are at double the risk of developing cataract as the general population and the relative risk is highest in those aged between 45 and 54, a study says. Cataract is one of the main causes of global sight loss.
"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," said study co-author Rupert Bourne, Professor of Ophthalmology at Anglia Ruskin University in England.
For the study, the researchers analysed medical records from 56,510 UK-based diabetes patients aged 40 or over and found that cataract was diagnosed at an overall rate of 20.4 per 1,000 people. This compares to a rate in the general population of 10.8 per 1,000.
Diabetics aged between 45 and 54 were considerably more likely than non-sufferers to develop cataract, said the study published in the journal Eye.
Those diabetic patients aged between 45 and 49 were 4.6 times more at risk, and diabetics aged between 50 and 54 were 5.7 times more at risk than their healthy counterparts.
The study used data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, which covers around seven per cent of the UK population and is representative of the overall demographic with regard to age, sex and geographic distribution.