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Scared of Retinopathy

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by CaptainKidd27, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. CaptainKidd27

    CaptainKidd27 Type 1 · Member

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    Hi all. I’ve been a type one diabetic for nearly five years. I posed a few months ago about my year of terrible control, but since then I’ve been getting somewhat back on track. However, I’ve noticed a couple small eye floaters, and I’m absolutely terrified. I’ve been told by a friend that I’ll probably need immediate laser eye surgery, and I’ve never been more scared in my entire life. I guess what I’m looking for is opinions on whether or not I actually have retinopathy, or if it’s just normal floaters, or if I will actually need immediate treatment. What is retinopathy like and what is the treatment like? Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. Grateful

    Grateful Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm 60 years old and was recently diagnosed T2D.

    I have had lots of "floaters" ever since my teenage years. I can see a whole swarm of them floating across the screen as I am typing this. But I was recently checked for diabetic retinopathy and given the all-clear.

    So my (non-expert) opinion is that only your eye doctor can give a proper analysis of what you are experiencing.
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  3. QPR4Me

    QPR4Me Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    As Grateful says, talk to your medics regarding this issue and take their advice.
    My grandmother was blind thanks to Diabetes (Not sure whether it was T1 or T2, we have both scattered throughout our family). My aunt was a social worker for the blind in the north west of Ireland and, as a child, I spent many a time attending festivals etc, selling furniture made by the blind to raise money for this charitable work when back in Ireland on holiday back home from London.
    I have background retinopathy (like many Diabetics) and was suspected of having maculopathy but the Moorfields eye consultants cleared me of that some years ago.
    Every year I have my retinas photographed and I have my sight reviewed by a trusted optician. I suggest that you follow a similar regime. Once your sight is damaged, there is almost no chance of regaining it.
    Of all the nasties that Diabetes throws our way, the loss of sight, for me, is the most frightening. Do whatever you can to look after your sight, do your best to maintain your blood sugar levels at the right levels and listen to what your optician and doctors tell you.
    Blindness is awful, yet can be avoided.
  4. Juicyj

    Juicyj Type 1 · Moderator
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    Hi @CaptainKidd27 None of us are medical professionals and can diagnose floaters in your eyes as being related to retinopathy, however you should be having an annual eye screening appointment, can you confirm you've been having these ? Am tagging @himtoo as he's had retinopathy and may know more than us, good luck.
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  5. himtoo

    himtoo Type 1 · Well-Known Member
    Retired Moderator

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    hi there @CaptainKidd27
    I think you should start with a visit to your local optometrist.
    they will be able to tell if you need a referral to hospital ophthalmology department.
    I would also ring your DSN ( diabetic nurse) and ask her for assistance in getting a retinal screening scheduled.

    I have been diabetic ( type 1 ) for 45 years and had diagnosed retinopathy for 27 years.
    I have had laser in 2002 and again in 2012.
    my BG control has been very good for a long time ( at least the last 20 years )

    laser is not loads of fun -- it does not hurt -- I think it is more the fear that the consultant is going to slip and put a hole in your eyelid if you blink at the wrong time.
    trust me it is not like that
    the uncomfortable side of things is the stinging drops they put in to dilate pupils , and the really bright light they shine into your eyes to be able to see the backs of your eyes.

    I hope I have helped :)

    I will tag in @Dark Horse
    always good support from this member.
  6. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse · Well-Known Member

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    Some small floaters are harmless, other floaters are an indication that you are at risk of large bleed into the eye which can obscure your vision for months. You need to be examined so the best idea is to visit your optician as soon as possible. If the floaters are harmless, the optician will be able to put your mind at rest. If the floaters are more sinister, you may need treatment and it's important that this is given in a timely manner to prevent your sight being affected. Take comfort from @himtoo 's testimony and perhaps search the forums for other people's experiences.

    If the number of floaters start to increase (especially if accompanied by flashes) or if you have a sudden loss of vision, you need to contact eye casualty at your local hospital and ask for advice.
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  7. TheBigNewt

    TheBigNewt Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Go get an eye exam. By an eye doctor not a tech trying to sell you glasses. They can see diabetic retinopathy right away. "Floaters" doesn't mean you have retinopathy. Lots of people have them. Not many have retinopathy. I just had an eye exam, no retinopathy, diabetic since 1984. But I did need new glasses!
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  8. Jkoko56

    Jkoko56 Type 1 · Active Member

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    I've been type 1 for over 50 years and have had quite a lot of laser treatment in the last 15 to 20 years. Firstly you must get an appointment with an eye specialist, not just the optician. The treatment itself is as himtoo has described. Mine really didn't hurt just my eye felt a bit sore afterwards. Anyway, the thing is that it worked. I still have my 3 yearly driving licence and can pursue my hobby, photography. I attend the eye-clinic every 6 months for check-ups.
    When you get your hospital appointment don't forget that you can't drive for several hours afterwards because the drops dilate the pupils and you'll be extra-sensitive to light. I always take dark glasses.
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  9. novorapidboi26

    novorapidboi26 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Definitely don't make assumptions or try and convince yourself of anything.....best to get to your local ophthalmology department and get an examination.....

    I have had retinopathy for a few years now and now maculopathy.....currently there hasn't been any significant effect on my vision and no treatment is required....you can go through your whole life with background retinopathy and never have an effect to the vision or the need for treatment.....

    Try not to worry though, getting seen regularly is the key to keeping sight and what I feel is more important in the short term, peace of mind.....as the waiting around and not knowing whats happening can really eat away at you and manifest symptoms that aren't really there..
  10. Bluetit1802

    Bluetit1802 Type 2 (in remission!) · Guru

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