Purpose: We studied the incidence of cataract extraction in people with diabetes of long duration to determine which factors are associated with higher risk of surgery.
Methods: We recruited a probability sample of all persons receiving care for diabetes in an 11-county area of southern Wisconsin for a prevalence study of diabetic retinopathy. All 2,366 subjects were examined between September 1980 and June 1982. During the slit-lamp examinations, presence of the lens, whether natural or prosthetic, was noted. The subjects were reexamined four and ten years after the initial prevalence study. Occurrence of cataract extraction in the interim between examinations was recorded.
Results: In the younger-onset group there was an 8.3% (95% confidence interval, 6.2%, 10.8%) cumulative incidence, and in the older-onset group there was a 24.9% (95% confidence interval, 21.3%, 28.5%) cumulative incidence of cataract surgery in the ten-year interval. Characteristics statistically significantly related to cataract surgery in the younger-onset group in multivariate analysis were age, severity of diabetic retinopathy, and proteinuria. In the older-onset group, age and use of insulin were associated with increased risk.
Conclusions: These data indicate that cataract surgery is a relatively frequent occurrence in people with diabetes. This finding needs to be considered to plan for health care for people with diabetes.