old eye cataract

People with diabetes appear more likely to suffer vision-related problems over time, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Investigators tracked eye health in adults aged 45 and older with diagnosed diabetes from 2016 to 2017. People who had been diagnosed ten years ago or later were more likely to have one of four eye disorders than those diagnosed earlier, and to have vision loss. One third had cataracts, with over 9% suffering vision loss as a result. In addition, 8.6% had diabetic retinopathy, an incidence three times higher than those without the disease; 7.1% had glaucoma; and 4.3% had macular degeneration.

The prevalence of diabetes increases with age, the agency also reported. In 2017, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes ranged from 13.2% among adults aged 45–64 to 20.1% among those aged 65–74, and 19.8% among those aged 75 and over.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that patients with a diabetes diagnosis have comprehensive eye exams: Those with type 1 diabetes should do so within five years of receiving a diagnosis and those with type 2 diabetes should do so at the time of diagnosis.