Diabetes and cataract surgery

My father is a retired professor and was recently diagnosed with the symptoms of cataracts. He complained that when he goes for driving he can see halos around vehicle headlights and streetlights at night and glare from the bright lights during the day. His vision has become blurry and cloudy although he wears glasses. So I checked his eyes and could see bright circles around his eyes. So we together went to a cataract surgeon in Toronto 3 months before and confirmed it is cataracts. The surgeon told that he can opt for 2 choices, either wear lenses or do surgery. My father is a diabetes patient so the surgeon told to bring the details of his diabetes when he comes next time. As this covid19 crisis is going on, we haven’t gone to that clinic again but looking forward to contacting them. My father is afraid of surgery but if it gives expected results he is ready to do that. Which choice is a permanent solution for cataracts? Anyone with diabetes had done cataracts surgery here? How was your experience? What suggestions you would like to give to my father? Please share.

Thank you


I had my cataracts removed about 4 yrs ago. I am a very well controlled Type 1. I am now 69 and have had diabetes since I was 8.

I worried about the surgery, but it really was easy. I had one eye done and waited two weeks and had the other eye done. The most difficult part of the whole experience was remembering to give all of the eye drops. For the first 3 yrs after surgery, I no longer needed glasses. I still don’t wear them very often.

I have no retinopathy if that makes a difference.

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Just be aware that the Herzig clinic is a private clinic, so your father will have to pay for his surgery. On the other hand, cataract surgery done through hospitals or their associated eye clinics is covered by OHIP, although if he wants fancier implanted lenses than the province pays for, he will be charged for those. (From experience I will say the standard lenses are just fine.)

Since you are in or near Toronto, I would suggest asking your family doctor for a referral to an ophthalmic surgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, which has a respected ophthalmology department. Some of the surgeons there also work out of the Kensington Eye Institute, and surgery there is also covered by OHIP.

Cataract surgery is pretty routine these days, and it sounds like your father has caught them early. Hospitals are good about scheduling surgery first thing in the day for patients with diabetes.


This info may help.

It really depends on how “cloudy” his cataracts are. Surgery removes that cloudiness. Glasses only help to some extent, to help with focus. The halos will likely stay the same with glasses, where surgery would improve them.

I have had cataract surgery in both eyes. I chose to get regular/clear lenses. New options (more cost) can implant “corrective” lens (IOL) during the cataract surgery.

More about choices for IOL.

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My wonderful retinal dr. moved, but before she left she told me to get my retinal exam when due and then get the cataracts done. Apparently going to renew my driver’s license isn’t a good idea until I get rid of the darn cataracts so…hopefully before Fall the eye clinic will be open.

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Go for the surgery. I can see 20/20 without glasses but need them read.


I can’t speak to the cost of cataract surgery in Canada, but as far as the surgery itself goes, it’s simple, easy, doesn’t require general anesthesia, and the recovery is amazingly quick. As Marylin pointed out, the most difficult part is the eye drops schedule…it’s best to make a chart ahead of time. Also, there’s always a several-week interval between having the first eye and the second eye done.

So, before surgery, my vision was 20/625 in one eye and 20/650 in the other. Now my vision is 20/20 and 20/30. However…I have 12 pairs of reading glasses scattered around the house and one pair in my purse! I have to say, though, that being able to see (except for reading) without constantly having to clean glasses, and seeing without any barrier between me and nature, is hugely gratifying!


Welcome to the site.

The out-of-pocket cost is minimal in canada thanks to universal health care.

I had diabetes for at least 10 years before both eyes were done. Diabetes was well controlled at all times.

It is a bit spooky to have some one work inside your eye ball while you are fully awake. So if you are prone to panic some approved anti-anxiety drug might be good.

There maybe some drugs you should should well before the operation. Not sure but flowmax comes to mind.

An advantage is that with plastic lenses the BG of the day no longer affects vision.

With covid-19 I would wait. the more so since we are not supposed to go anywhere.

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I had my cataracts removed one at a time. My eye doc used a laser which is much better in my opinion . It only took around 15 minutes to due a eye. You can googled the surgery and get a lot of information.

Thanks for being a caring patient advocate for your father. Your the best!

I’m a bit confused by your response Ruth. After the surgery are you able to see well without glasses for distance vision but require glasses only for reading.

Glad you had good results from your surgery. I also replaced the lenses in both eyes. However, my correction lenses enable me to read, work on my computer, and house chores without glasses. I still need glasses for driving and longer distances. I’m also very happy with the clarity in seeing colors and driving at night without glare.

Lefty1 There are several types of lenses or combinations of lenses that can be used. If you have age-related presbyiopia (age-related far-sightedness), sometimes it can be corrected at the same time one’s nearsightedness can be corrected by using different lenses in each eye.

I had been near-sighted all my life. Until I hit my late 50’s, I never needed glasses for reading, but other than that, I was blind as a bat. But by my late 50’s, my glasses needed progressive lenses, so I could both read and see to drive, etc. And those glasses were VERY expensive…up to $250/pair, even at the discount chains.

When I had cataract surgery, my insurance would only pay for the basic lens…one correction. So I opted to correct my near-sightedness, and continue to use reading glasses for reading or doing close work.

And yes, now I can see, for the first time since I was 12, without glasses for most things. I only use glasses (cheaters…$3.00/pair!) for reading.

I had this done, but before I had it done my surgeon told me that whether I would be able to read or not was a gamble, since I also had significant astigmatism in one eye. I decided to take the chance, and it turns out that I do need glasses for reading, but I can do casual housework, etc., without glasses.

All the professionals seem to think that I see much better, and that for reasons of safety I needed to have it done. I have osteoporosis, and it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to fall.


What I understand there are 2 ways of getting new lenses for cataract issues.
In the us, you can get insurance to cover it and they will correct your vision as well either distance or close up.
If you want both you need to go to a private practice and pay for the whole thing which was 5 thousand per eye for a friend of mine.
However she doesn’t need glasses anymore and is very happy.
I don’t have cataracts at least yet. But I would love vision correction.
I would likely pay for the good ones.

I am T2, and had cataract surgery in my left eye. I was very pleased with the result, I can drive at night now! Before the surgery, I asked the surgeon if diabetes would be an issue, and after he asked a few questions, he assured me he did this surgery on diabetics regularly, and it was very reassuring.