The prevalence of cataract in a population with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus


Eydis Olafsdottir, MD
Augndeild, Landspitali Háskólasjúkrahús
101 Reykjavík
Tel: +354 6924410
Fax: +354 543 4831


Purpose:  To evaluate the prevalence and risk factors of lens opacities in a geographically defined population of subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus compared with a control population.

Methods:  Subjects in the community of Laxå with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus (n = 275) and a control group (n = 256) participated in the study. Lens opacities were graded with Lens Opacities Classification System II in all participants. Lens Opacities Classification System score ≥2 was considered as significant lens opacity. Anthropometric and blood chemistry data were collected for all participants in connection with the eye examination. For the diabetic population, yearly updated information on glucose control, blood pressure and body mass index was available through medical records from diabetes diagnosis until the time of the eye examination.

Results:  The prevalence of significant cortical, posterior subcapsular and nuclear cataract was 65.5%, 42.5% and 48.0%, respectively, in the type 2 diabetes population in Laxå. In logistic regression analyses, all types of lens opacities were strongly associated with age (p < 0.0001). Cortical lens opacity was also associated with a diagnosis of diabetes (p < 0.0001), posterior subcapsular lens opacity with HbA1c (p < 0.0001) and nuclear lens opacity with female gender and higher heart rate (both p = 0.0004). In the diabetic population, all types of cataract were likewise strongly associated with age (p < 0.0001), posterior subcapsular cataract with HbA1c (p = 0.0032), nuclear cataract with female gender (p = 0.0002) and higher heart rate (p = 0.0008).

Conclusions:  Our study shows that cortical cataract is associated with diabetes mellitus, not necessarily defined by glucose control, whereas posterior subcapsular cataract is associated with glucose levels. Nuclear cataract is not associated with diabetes mellitus, but is more frequent in women and is also associated with higher heart rate.