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Early signs of diabetic retinopathy

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by MarianL, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. MarianL

    MarianL Type 1 · Newbie

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    I've been type 1 for 2 years. I keep my sugar levels under control, have a low carb diet and exercise regularly. I've just had my annual eye test and have been told I've got early signs of retinopathy but no need for treatment, I'll just get tested in a year's time. I'm wondering what, if anything, I can do to stop any further damage. Anyone experienced something similar?
     
  2. SamJB

    SamJB Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Background retinopathy really is nothing to worry about. I had it once, for a few years, and I worried too. You need to worry when you have lots of spots, having one or two can be par for the course of having diabetes.

    What was your latest HbA1c? My spots disappeared when my HbA1c fell below 7%.
     
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  3. Yorksman

    Yorksman Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    The ophthalmologists who do the tests basically send the photos off to a company who analyse them and who detect the 'early signs'. My opthalmologist took the time to show me the 'damage' and told me it probably occured ebfore I new I had diabetes, that it was nothing to worry about but I would get this alarming sounding letter. He said, if it were serious, they wouldn't wait a year. However, they all get paid for keeping this particular hamster turning the wheel.

    Last year, surprise surprise, I still had the same 'damage' as the year before. No new damage, just the same damage. So, I got the same letter. Your test has revealed some background damage .....

    It's a bit of a gravy train.
     
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  4. jack412

    jack412 Type 2 · Expert

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    keep your BG right for a few years and you may get a letter than it has settled and back to normal :)

    I take a low dose statin for microvascular health
    this study looked at the history of 60,000 Diabetics after av. 2.7
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(14)70173-1/abstract
    retinopathy HR=0.6 [decrease of risk]
    neuropathy HR=0.66
    gangrene of the foot HR=0.88
    diabetic nephropathy HR=0.97
    [neutral..........HR=0.0 ]
    diabetes HR=1•17 [increase of risk]
     
  5. Nyxks

    Nyxks Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    If you've been running high and untreated its a possibility but even then who knows, been 11 years and i've never been told that I have any such signs in my eyes by my eye doc that i see each year (mandatory that i see an othromolgist each year under OHIP)
     
  6. CarbsRok

    CarbsRok Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    The ophthalmologist I saw after cataract surgery suggested fish oil for a supplement, after I asked him if he could recommend anything to help keep eyes in good order. He did emphasise though that keep both blood sugars and BP under control was the best treatment with fish oil to help.
     
  7. czj

    czj Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I hadn't heard of fish oil for eyes, but I'm off to check it out. The common recommendations of compounds to protect the eye are things like leafy green veg and egg yolks. Some of us who have had eye issues in the past take eye supplements (deemed helpful by my optician). The compounds you are looking for are Lutein and Zeaxanthin. I've also seen research that says lycopene helps too.
     
  8. MarianL

    MarianL Type 1 · Newbie

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    Thanks everybody for your replies - very reassuring. My last HbA1c was 6.2% and I haven't had any symptoms so I guess I should just carry on with keeping my BG under control. I did wonder if it was damage that was already there pre diagnosis and just not picked up. I'm not taking a statin and don't really want to but I'll ask at my next checkup. Thanks again.
     
  9. CarbsRok

    CarbsRok Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Here you go more info here http://www.eyedoctorguide.com/eye_vitamin_nutrition/fish_oil_for_eyes.html
     
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  10. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
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    Just keep doing what your doing bg wise, at 6.2% your control is very good. You should also make sure your cholesterol and bp are under control and try and eat a diet rich in fruit and veg to aid your eye health.

    The following has a wealth of information on diabetic retinopathy, it is by far the best website for informations on this condition:

    http://www.diabeticretinopathy.org.uk/Information_for_patients.html
     
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  11. czj

    czj Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link. I was taking Omega-3 & -6 combined tablets for a while (which I found at the back of our medicine drawer but weren't out of date - might as well have them I thought, though I didn't realise they helped eyes too). When I finished I thought I'd try something else. Well, I wouldn't eat kale every day, so I might as well try different compounds.

    I bought some alpha lipoic acid. I've just googled it again, and I am not sure exactly what it is. ie I'm not sure it's an essential acid or not like the alpha linolenic acid mentioned in the link above). I do know it's prescribed to diabetics in Germany, though at a higher dose than I am taking. We have a German GP in our practice, so next time I see him I'll ask about its use in Germany.
     
  12. ohitsnicola

    ohitsnicola Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I've early stages of retinopathy and maculopathy....:( Mine is probably due to have sh*t control when I was younger...slowly but surely getting control now though it maybe too late?.
     
  13. donnellysdogs

    donnellysdogs Type 1 · Master

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    You can have good hba1c's.... Still get retinopathy... The best thing to try and minimise it is to try and stop the swings in your levels... That with me eliminated my background retinopathy. I pretty much had goodevels but the swings were too high or low...
     
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  14. MarianL

    MarianL Type 1 · Newbie

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    Yes, that's a really good point. Hard to do sometimes but I think I'll test at more random times of the day to see what my levels are doing - that'll give me a better idea of what's going on. Thanks.
     
  15. ohitsnicola

    ohitsnicola Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    One of my reasons why I want a CGM or the libre :( I can dream haha!
     
  16. Caesar

    Caesar Type 1 · Active Member

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    I suffer from bg swings as well :( I fought for years to get the Dexcom through the NHS funding but with no success. I'm now waiting for the new release of the Libre, which I really hope is going to be soon. The Libre doesn't have alarms as the Dexcom but at least is more affordable and should help preventing some of my swings that are definitely harmful for the retina. Another cool innovation I can suggest about retinopathy treatment/prevention is the Noctura 400 by PolyPhotonix: http://noctura.com/ The Noctura 400 is a mask worn at night during the sleeping hours and it works by preventing dark adaptation hence retinal hypoxia by emitting a soft green glow. It's available through selected optometrists who check the condition of the retina every 3 months. I'm using this sleep mask and trying to spread the word on this forum about it as I think that more people should be aware of such a non-invasive alternative to fear less going to the eye screenings.
     
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  17. Joah

    Joah Type 1 · Active Member

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    Hi Caesar
    How long have you been using the Noctura now?have u had a checkup since?any improvement?
     
  18. Caesar

    Caesar Type 1 · Active Member

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    Hi @Joah
    Sorry for my late reply but I don't come on the forum that often any more. I've been using the mask for nearly 2 years now. I get a checkup every 3 months, when I get a mask replacement. This is included in the price you pay for the mask. They take photographs of my retina in both eyes and discuss the results straight ahead. I'm using the mask for preventive purposes. I don't have signs of retinopathy but I think it makes more sense preventing rather than treating it. We all know that it'll come at some point if we just wait, no matters our effort to keep BG on track or renounce everything we like in life. I took my decision and preferred spending this money until the NHS will hopefully cover it. What I can say for sure it's that I'm free from that horrible thought of getting blind one day! Other people have added their experiences with the mask in here: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/threads/noctura-sleep-mask-for-diabetic-retinopathy.75538/
    If I'm correct, I've also seen a link to a facebook group related to this in some comments.
    Have a look. Hope this helps!
     
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