AIMS: To analyze the risk of incident cataract (diagnosis or extraction) in patients with or without diabetes focusing on other comorbid conditions, antidiabetic drug use, and diabetes duration. METHODS: The study population comprised newly diagnosed diabetes patients (>/=40 years) from the UK-based Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) between 2000 and 2015, and a random sample of the general population matched for age, sex, general practice, and year of diabetes diagnosis. We assessed cataract incidence rates (IRs) and performed a nested case-control analysis in the diabetic cohort to assess potential risk factors for a cataract. RESULTS: There were 56,510 diabetes patients included in the study. IRs of cataract were 20.4 (95% CI 19.8-20.9) per 1000 person-years (py) in patients with diabetes and 10.8 (95% CI 10.5-11.2) per 1000 py in the general population. IRs increased considerably around the age of 80 years and with a concomitant diagnosis of macular edema. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) was highest in patients of the age group of 45-54 years. In the nested case-control study, we identified 5800 patients with cataract. Risk of cataract increased with increasing diabetes duration (adj. OR 5.14, 95% CI 4.19-6.30 diabetes for >/=10 years vs. diabetes <2 years). CONCLUSIONS: According to our study, diabetes is associated with an approximately two-fold increased detection rate of cataract. The risk of cataract associated with diabetes is highest at younger ages. Patients with diabetic macular edema are at an increased risk for cataract as well as patients with long-standing diabetes.