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Background Retinopathy - not as bad as I expected

Discussion in 'Diabetes Complications' started by LittleGreyCat, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I recently had my annual retinopathy check and the letter came back that I had background retinopathy.

    I also received a letter reminding me it was time for my annual eye check.

    Fortuitous, because my ophthalmologist is clued up on diabetes and very thorough.
    She gave the backs of my eyes a very thorough going over and said that she could see a faint pink shadow in part of my left eye, but no bleeds, and my right eye was a little blotchy near the centre, but again no sign of any bleeds, including micro bleeds.

    I am, as you can imagine, enormously relieved. I have booked in for another check in 6 months time and also (at my ophthalmologist's suggestion) switched my regular check to the summer so that my NHS check and my optician check are 6 months apart in future. Said she was good.

    I also agreed to pay £12.50 for photographs at my next checkup on top of the standard service. I know SpecSavers do this as standard but it isn't much (passport photos?) to have a long term record.

    Which brings me onto another thing.

    You get a letter saying you have background retinopathy. No mention of which eye or whereabouts in the eye. The photographs aren't available to the ophthalmologists so they have a hint about where to look. This is commercial gain over service to the patient.

    Anyway, I had a bad 3 months when dropping Metformin to see if it improved my eGFR coincided with a lot of complicated things happening in my life, and a home test HbA1c in mid December showing a 64/8% result when I am usually at or below 6.4%. This could be enough to explain the flare up in my retinas and the subsequent improved control could explain the clearing up.

    So a report that you have background retinopathy might not be the end of the world.
     
    • Winner Winner x 3
  2. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Master

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    Ah, that great news. I bet you're well chuffed. Great job on getting back to better management.
     
  3. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Beer and chocolates to celebrate...I mean...oops?
     
  4. PenguinMum

    PenguinMum Type 2 · Expert

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    @LittleGreyCat I got the same bland letter about backfround retinopathy last summer. However my GP got a letter which stated the measurement and which eye affected (no photos) which I was able to get a copy of to give to my Ophthalamologist who discovered my bleed yesterday.
    Good to hear all clear with your eyes now. Its a big relief I’m sure.
     
  5. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.
    Hope all goes well for you.
    I would prefer if the letter was combined with enough detail to have any bleed monitored as soon as the results came back.
     
  6. PenguinMum

    PenguinMum Type 2 · Expert

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    What exactly does background retinopathy mean? Does it mean a bleed?
     
  7. Boo1979

    Boo1979 Other · Well-Known Member

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  8. Zilsniggy

    Zilsniggy Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I think there appears to be some confusion about who you are seeing....an Ophthalmologist would generally work out of a hospital, while an Optician might check for signs of retinopathy as part of a regular eyesight test. An Optometrist dispenses spectacles. The correct test you should have is called an OCT scan, this will actually show exactly where any problems with retinopathy are(it's a bit like a CAT scan for the eye). They are normally done in hospital, so unless you have been to a hospital clinic, it may not be an Ophthalmologist you saw. No matter, whoever you saw, at least you have some idea of what is happening. You should also be having diabetic eye screening every year anyway. Be aware that if you get good glucose control, this will help to heal retinopathy.
    I had severe maculopathy(the bit of the eye which deals with central vision) and multiple bleeds. One year on a very low carb diet and excellent control, and I have needed no macular injections since last July.........the bleeds have cleared right up.
     
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  9. phil42sussex

    phil42sussex Type 2 · Member

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  10. phil42sussex

    phil42sussex Type 2 · Member

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    My retinopothy letters have all been identical except for the date, they send a standard letter out so they can tick the box
     
  11. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    https://www.feelgoodcontacts.com/ey...tween-an-ophthalmologist-optometrist-optician

    So Optician dispenses spectacles, Optometrist examines your eyes, and Opthalmologist has more medical training and sometimes is trained to perform surgery.

    You are correct that I see an Optometrist (just checked). I knew she wasn't an Optician but picked the wrong grade up. :-(
     
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  12. KeithT 2

    KeithT 2 Type 2 · Active Member

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    Like you I was diagnosed with background retinopathy and was told that it wasn't anything to worry about. By early 2017 it had developed into maculopathy and to be honest, that scared the pants out of me. The one thing that I dreaded the most about diabetes was the thought of going blind. I have always had a phobia about being locked in darkness, which often wakes me from sleep in a sweat. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the letter was the kick start for me to take T2 Diabetes far more seriously than I had done so previously. I grew up just after the second world war when food was still in short supply. So sweet things were a real treat when you had them, but starchy foods, such as potatoes and bread, were a big part of the common man's diet. Our meals were always served with bread on the table, even if we had a steak and kidney pudding. This habit continued for most of my life until I was diagnosed with type 2 in 2006. I began to keep 2 daily blood records - fasting and before bed. I figured that if these two numbers were in my target range (under 6 mmol/L I would be happy with them. In Nov 2017 my very first recorded number for the evening was 14.1. I cut out potatoes, rice and certainly pasta which I loath, and added more meats to my diet. Any carbohydrates I eat come before 3pm, which give me time to work off their spikes, My evening meals contain no heavy carbs and only vegetable carbs like parsnips, but not all the time. I have lost 2.5 stone since I began my serious approach to control and my BG numbers have been normal. My last recorded A1c was 43 and I had my 6 monthly A1c last week and fingers crossed it will be the same or better. My last eye screening result showed no more development in the maculopathy but had slightly improved. Now they want to check me for suspected Glaucoma - age related no doubt. Hopefully that will be fine, as I have had those tests at the opticians before and they were fine. Upwards and onwards as they say, and glad you found the answer for your retinopathy and yes, better control is the way to delay or reverse these dreadful side effects of diabetes. Control is the keyword in every sense of the word. My first BG number for the morning of Nov 18 2018 was 4.8.
     
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    #12 KeithT 2, Jan 25, 2019 at 9:16 AM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  13. Zilsniggy

    Zilsniggy Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Don't get me wrong, some optometrists are very good and well experienced!
    Mostly in Scotland, Optrometrists do the retinal screening on behalf of the NHS, but they take on extra training to be able to do this.
    Ophthalmologists are the real eye specialists and deal with all sorts of eye conditions, emergencies, and surgery as well. If you have retinopathy, after a certain level you can be referred to an Ophthalmology clinic for further assessment and treatment.....at least here in Scotland. They arrange for the treatment, such as laser therapy or macular injection.
    I was having macular injections monthly in both eyes up until July 2018. I've been eating low carb since August 2017, and I think the better control afforded by that has helped me avoid injections since July!
     
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