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Background Diabetic Retinopathy

Discussion in 'Diabetes Complications' started by LFitz94, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. LFitz94

    LFitz94 Type 1 · Newbie

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    Hi everyone,
    I’ve never posted before but I’ve always found this forum helpful so I thought I’d ask for some advice. I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 14 years, diagnosed at age 11. My HBA1c’s have always been within range, most recent one was 38%. I’ve really tried my best to keep my blood sugars within range but sometimes I do eat things I shouldn’t and arrange my diabetes around my life instead of the other way around. I’m very conscientious about it all the same and have never had any problems. However I just found out I have background retinopathy and it’s hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m racked with guilt over not looking after myself better when I was younger, I just feel like my messing around has caught up with me. I don’t carb count perhaps because I’ve always refused to let my diabetes run my life but the doctors are always amazed at how well I keep my levels without it. I just know how much to inject and how much I can eat, I suppose I just have my own system which fails sometimes. I’m just wondering how serious this is or should I be very worried about? Is there anything else I can do to improve it or will it go away completely with good control? Sorry for the long post I’m just desperate for some reassurance.
     
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  2. Scott-C

    Scott-C Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi, LFitz, if you got a letter saying something along the lines of "mild background diabetic retinopathy not requiring treatment", it's not really anything to worry about.

    The retinal scans taken once a year are like a really early warning system so that they can spot things at very early stages just to keep a watch on it, it can often clear up on its own, and if need be steps can be taken long before things progress.

    If it's mild BDR not requiring treatment, all it means is that they have noticed what might be a few possible bulges in blood vessels, but, depending on who assessed it, might be nothing at all.

    It certainly does not mean you are on some sort of down hill spiral.

    Many non-diabetics have mild background retinopathy too, it's just that they don't know about it because they are not tested.

    Small blips on the scan can sort themselves out perfectly well on their own.

    It's totally possible to get a mild bdr letter one year, and then the next one a year later to be fine, and for bdr to be spotted in only one eye, then next year that eye is ok but the other one has bdr.

    I've attached the outcome of my scans since 2012 and you can see it's a mixed bag, some years showing mild bdr in both eyes, sometimes in one eye, and sometimes none at all, which just goes to show how it is definitely not progressive and in some ways just random, and also how the eye can sort itself out just fine.

    The best bet is just to keep bg levels in range for a decent amount of time, and not sweat going out of range for brief periods.

    Good luck!

    Screenshot_2019-07-13-17-06-57.png
     
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  3. LFitz94

    LFitz94 Type 1 · Newbie

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    Hi Scott, thanks so much for your help that’s really reassured me. I was just so thrown by it because I had my eyes tested in Specsavers last month and it was clear so I really wasn’t worrying about the results as they’ve always come back clear. Yes it said background retinopathy because of minor changes to the back of the eye that doesn’t require treatment, I know it’s probably nothing to stress over but I got such a fright. Thank you again for your advice!
     
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  4. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse · Well-Known Member

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    This gives information about the relationship between HbA1c and retinopathy:- http://diabeticretinopathy.org.uk/prevention/hba1c_and_retinopathy.htm

    Background retinopathy does not affect your sight, but at your age your eyes have got to last you a long time so prevention of progression is wise. The degree of retinopathy tends to reflect diabetic control from a few years back and if your current levels are good, future progression may be very slow.
     
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  5. beckeh87

    beckeh87 Type 2 (in remission!) · Newbie

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    I have just got my test results back from my appointment on Monday and it says I have background diabetic retinopathy. I'm T2 but it has been in remission since 2015. Just wondering whether this would mean it is now active again and if I'd need to restart diabetes treatment?
     
  6. buckmr2

    buckmr2 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    T1 47 years.
    I've had diabetic retinopathy for many years. Had laser treatment to "seal" the microscopic retinal leakages and also numerous injections in both eyes some years ago but nothing since.Vision is still more than good enough for driving.
    Personally I wouldn't worry about it as there are excellent treatments to help manage it but I'm not medically qualified to say whether you should be or not.
    You've generally had good control which is key
    PS If my diabetologist saw my HBA1c’s as low as 38 he'd be concerned I was having a lot if hypos (he did query mine when it was 44 and there's no hiding with the Libre!)
     
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