Laser treatment and driving licence

Trishhh

Active Member
Messages
40
Type of diabetes
Family member
Treatment type
I do not have diabetes
Hi everyone,

My hubby is type 1 and had the first session of scattered laser to treat retinopathy. During his appointments he was told it was unlikely to prevent him from driving. Today, during the laser session, the doctor told him he's likely to go from having 120% peripheral vision to about 70%. With this kind of loss, I can't seem to believe he's going to keep his licence. He's really sad since he was told about the treatment and I'm scared it will take a toll on his mental health if his licence is revoked. The situation is also affecting my own mental health, as I've been struggling with difficult feelings for a few years now. I've been quite tearful on the last few days when on my own and don't really know what to say to make him feel less down.
Please, can anyone share your experience, advice or anything that might help in any way?
Thank you.
 

Zinadane

Well-Known Member
Messages
293
Type of diabetes
Type 1
Treatment type
Insulin
50yrs T1d. I've had approx 3k laser in each eye. I always easily pass the peripheral vision test.
Its a psychological blow when you actually get these complications and you get told about possibly losing driving licence, of course they will always warn you of worst case scenario.
Keep positive and battle on and better days soon hopefully.
 

Trishhh

Active Member
Messages
40
Type of diabetes
Family member
Treatment type
I do not have diabetes
50yrs T1d. I've had approx 3k laser in each eye. I always easily pass the peripheral vision test.
Its a psychological blow when you actually get these complications and you get told about possibly losing driving licence, of course they will always warn you of worst case scenario.
Keep positive and battle on and better days soon hopefully.
Thank you for your words, Zinadane. May I ask how much your peripheral vision has been reduced? My husband now is saying he's not having more treatment because, according to the research papers he read, with argon laser it's expected a loss of only about 12%, while from 120% to 70% the loss would be over 40%. I'm not sure he misunderstood what he read or if here in West Midlands treatment is not the best. We haven't been explained much during the appointments. Surely no one mentioned any numbers before the procedure.
 
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Zinadane

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Messages
293
Type of diabetes
Type 1
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Insulin
Sorry, I honestly can’t remember the exact field of view stats now.
About 10 years ago I had mine done, I was also very scared at the time, and it felt like my world was slipping away.
But tbh the treatment worked extremely well, and my retinopathy has been perfectly stable since.
I remember the surgeon being aware of the field of vision implications and the lasering was done to retain a certain level required.
I also remember passing the field of vision test with barely any reduction noticed. This was at the time and I don’t think I’ve had another test for any of my dvla 3yr renewals.
Write down all your concerns, get a telephone appontment with the opthamology dept and get them to explain everything again.
I did this as like you I was extremely worried at the time.
 

Trishhh

Active Member
Messages
40
Type of diabetes
Family member
Treatment type
I do not have diabetes
Sorry, I honestly can’t remember the exact field of view stats now.
About 10 years ago I had mine done, I was also very scared at the time, and it felt like my world was slipping away.
But tbh the treatment worked extremely well, and my retinopathy has been perfectly stable since.
I remember the surgeon being aware of the field of vision implications and the lasering was done to retain a certain level required.
I also remember passing the field of vision test with barely any reduction noticed. This was at the time and I don’t think I’ve had another test for any of my dvla 3yr renewals.
Write down all your concerns, get a telephone appontment with the opthamology dept and get them to explain everything again.
I did this as like you I was extremely worried at the time.
Thank you so much. I'll follow your advice and get him to try and call the hospital. I'm glad treatment worked so well for you, and it gives me hope. Thanks again.
 
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Jaylee

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18,303
Type of diabetes
Type 1
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Hi,

I’ve not had retinopathy but I was successfully treated for macula oedema. (Which can distort central field of vision.)
I still retain my privilege to drive.

I also know of 2 other T1s personally who where treated for retinopathy & still retain a licence..

In my experience the ophthalmology people don’t like to stick their neck out with these concerns regarding DVLA when asked directly by the patient? (Probably & understandably concerned about “feedback” from the patient with any bad news.)

Reasonable BG management is key with regards to recovery from any eye issues due to the diabetes..

Best wishes for you & your husband.
 

Trishhh

Active Member
Messages
40
Type of diabetes
Family member
Treatment type
I do not have diabetes
Hi,

I’ve not had retinopathy but I was successfully treated for macula oedema. (Which can distort central field of vision.)
I still retain my privilege to drive.

I also know of 2 other T1s personally who where treated for retinopathy & still retain a licence..

In my experience the ophthalmology people don’t like to stick their neck out with these concerns regarding DVLA when asked directly by the patient? (Probably & understandably concerned about “feedback” from the patient with any bad news.)

Reasonable BG management is key with regards to recovery from any eye issues due to the diabetes..

Best wishes for you & your husband.
Thank you so much, Jaylee. It's great to know you and your friends are well after treatment and have retained your licenses! Hopefully, hearing about positive outcomes, my husband will start seeing his treatment in a better light and give up the idea of refusing to complete the laser treatment he's started having yesterday. Thanks again.
 
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Zinadane

Well-Known Member
Messages
293
Type of diabetes
Type 1
Treatment type
Insulin
There's only one way to go here and that is to complete the laser treatment and preserve your eyesight.
Life without eyesight or life without a driving licence, which will then be lost anyway?
Fingers crossed his field of vision will be fine to continue driving, which I'm sure it will be.
Correct jaylee, keep the sugar levels in range and further damage will be prevented and even regression can occur.
 
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Jaylee

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Thank you so much, Jaylee. It's great to know you and your friends are well after treatment and have retained your licenses! Hopefully, hearing about positive outcomes, my husband will start seeing his treatment in a better light and give up the idea of refusing to complete the laser treatment he's started having yesterday. Thanks again.
There ar 2 things to consider.. How long has your husband left on the current restricted licence?

Is the treatment in one eye, or both?

I would urge your husband to grab the treatment with both hands. As unfair as it feels, it can make all the difference with maintaining privaledge to drive.

I wish him well..
 

Trishhh

Active Member
Messages
40
Type of diabetes
Family member
Treatment type
I do not have diabetes
There's only one way to go here and that is to complete the laser treatment and preserve your eyesight.
Life without eyesight or life without a driving licence, which will then be lost anyway?
Fingers crossed his field of vision will be fine to continue driving, which I'm sure it will be.
Correct jaylee, keep the sugar levels in range and further damage will be prevented and even regression can occur.
I agree. It's not only the licence, though. He actually never came to terms with having diabetes. The possibility of losing his licence is just the last thing for him to be fed up. Just a few minutes ago he threw away his glucose monitor because his BG was too low. He never acted like this before, which tells me he's more than upset and scares me as he seems on the verge of even stop taking insulin. He won't say a thing about his eye condition to his family, and mine is in our home country. He clearly needs counselling but won't look for it. I can't even look for it for myself because talking to my GP is like providing evidence against myself. Once I told them I had pain in my back and, when I went to register my degree in this country, the GP told me I wasn't fit to work because of my back pain and so they couldn't provide a health statement! Anyway, I'm sorry to be bothering you guys with my unpleasant stories. I'm just feeling alone and stuck in this situation. I'm currently trying to book an appointment with a specialist in retinopathy somewhere else so he might feel more at peace having a second opinion from a private physician.
 
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Trishhh

Active Member
Messages
40
Type of diabetes
Family member
Treatment type
I do not have diabetes
There ar 2 things to consider.. How long has your husband left on the current restricted licence?

Is the treatment in one eye, or both?

I would urge your husband to grab the treatment with both hands. As unfair as it feels, it can make all the difference with maintaining privaledge to drive.

I wish him well..
I'm not sure when his licence will expire, but I think it's soon. At first he was told only one eye needed to be treated, but after having another test, this time with dye, he was told both eyes needed it and so he started laser in both of them. What's making him more doubtful about the doctor who did the procedure is that research studies say that with argon lasers, the loss of peripheral vision dropped from 40% with previous lasers to only 10%. The doctor confirmed that the laser used would be argon, but then told him he would go from 120° to 70° of peripheral vision, which is 42%. Now he regrets having had the first session and says if it's confirmed, he won't have it again because he wouldn't be able to see anything on the sides. I see you guys seemingly, thankfully, so well, but really what the doctor told him yesterday contradicts everything we were told on the previous consultations.
 

Zinadane

Well-Known Member
Messages
293
Type of diabetes
Type 1
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Insulin
It's a fairly common procedure for retinopathy which has been developed and improved over the last 20 years or so. I'm not sure on what the field of vision reduction that is excepted. After 3000 burns in each eye I am completely unaware of any reduction.
You need to speak to the doctors and get more info I think.
I certainly remember my complete overreaction and worry at the time.
I actually had a letter stating I can possibly loose my licence. Of course like I say, they are stating absolute worst case scenario.
Good luck, accept the diabetes and deal with it.
It becomes a way of life
 
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MrsA2

Expert
Messages
5,866
Type of diabetes
Type 2
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Diet only
Here in UK, you don't have to talk to your doctor to get access to counselling, you can "self refer".
If you Google "CBT" and your area, it should come up. Theres on line, by phone or face to face. Might be a waiting period (longer for face to face).

And I'm another who functions well and drives with poor eyesight in one eye.

Is hubby type 1 or 2? If the former some of his mood might be related to that if he's poorly controlled. Read around the threads for "burnout"
 

Trishhh

Active Member
Messages
40
Type of diabetes
Family member
Treatment type
I do not have diabetes
Here in UK, you don't have to talk to your doctor to get access to counselling, you can "self refer".
If you Google "CBT" and your area, it should come up. Theres on line, by phone or face to face. Might be a waiting period (longer for face to face).

And I'm another who functions well and drives with poor eyesight in one eye.

Is hubby type 1 or 2? If the former some of his mood might be related to that if he's poorly controlled. Read around the threads for "burnout"
Thank you! I'll look it up. He's type 1, has been diabetic since childhood and says he's tired of living with diabetes. Thanks again for your suggestions. Happy you could keep you licence
 
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Jaylee

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I'm not sure when his licence will expire, but I think it's soon. At first he was told only one eye needed to be treated, but after having another test, this time with dye, he was told both eyes needed it and so he started laser in both of them. What's making him more doubtful about the doctor who did the procedure is that research studies say that with argon lasers, the loss of peripheral vision dropped from 40% with previous lasers to only 10%. The doctor confirmed that the laser used would be argon, but then told him he would go from 120° to 70° of peripheral vision, which is 42%. Now he regrets having had the first session and says if it's confirmed, he won't have it again because he wouldn't be able to see anything on the sides. I see you guys seemingly, thankfully, so well, but really what the doctor told him yesterday contradicts everything we were told on the previous consultations.
It was a concern for me when I was first diagnosed with the MO, But that was just one eye. Then I had to renew my licence & they detected the same thing in the other eye. My consultant said, “you haven’t had treatment in both eyes yet…”

But then I considered the possibility of the money saved no longer maintaining a vehicle & keeping it on the road (the fuel prices.) as well as the cash from selling it..
But I do understand it also could affect my independence & livelihood. (Working during the week in public transport inaccessable areas & playing in a band at weekends.)

I empathise on how it could bring your husband down…
 
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Zinadane

Well-Known Member
Messages
293
Type of diabetes
Type 1
Treatment type
Insulin
My review system has changed now.
The 4-6 month review involves going in to have photos taken, oct scan amd optos wide field... you then get sent home.
The doctor will then review your photos in good time and a few weeks later you get your review results letter.
My letter described increased neovascular complexes in the right eye only and booked me in for further fill in panretinal laser.
**** it I'm thinking after 10 years of stable retinopathy, its started again.
Anyway, I go down today full of dread to be on the receiving end of the laser gun again.
More photos first and then get to see the doctor who does a proper full examination.
She decides it's stable and no laser required.
Happy obviously with the result, but sometimes these new NHS systems to increase they're productivity.... do they really work?
 
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