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Surveillance Appointment

Discussion in 'Diabetic Retinopathy' started by emck88, Feb 17, 2021.

  1. emck88

    emck88 Type 1 · Member

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    Hi there,

    I just wondered if anyone has any experience of attending a surveillance appointment that they could share?

    I had previously posted about being referred to the Eye Clinic, following suspected maculopathy in one of my eyes.

    I attended the clinic 3 times and each time they were happy that the suspect area had improved and the last time (6months ago) I was discharged to surveillance.

    I have just received my letter to attend surveillance and wanted to get an idea of what the appointment might involve - is it just a photo of the eye, like the normal annual screening or is it an involved appointment with lots of scans and a consultant meeting?

    I suffer from anxiety and knowing what to expect can really help me to manage my anxiety levels.

    For some reason (probably COVID) the appointment is at a community centre a few towns away from where I live (not even in my hospital trust which is strange). For that reason, I assume that it's just a photo as they won't have the OCT scanners etc set up there? It's quite inconvenient, I don't know whether they'll use drops so I'm having to ask my husband to take time off work to drive me. It's not even very easily accessible by public transport?

    Even previous to my attendance at the eye clinic, my screenings were at the hospital or at my GP practice.
     
  2. Sosgez

    Sosgez Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Its best that you ask them directly what to expect. Let then know how you feel about it too!

    OCT gets better pictures of the retina than the systems they use for preliminary monitoring.
    They use a laser which actually penetrates through the many very thin layers at the back of the eye, effectively giving a 3D image, not just the surface. So its a lot more useful. The laser signal moves very quickly in rows and columns, steered by mirrors. Its low power and safe.

    OCT is getting to be very commonplace, I understand its even done in some opticians now.
    The pictures it produces are cross-sections, like cutting through a layer cake. If you search Youtube for OCT you can find many examples.

    For me, the whole thing lasts about 45-60 minutes, most of which is waiting:-

    A brief chat to ask how my sight is - better/worse/incidents etc, and to ask if I'm on any medication.
    They will want to know what meds, and if i have any allergies, especially if allergic to the eye drops.

    A reading sight test with special illuminated boards. Like the simple Snellen test you see in a doctors' surgery, but more rows of letters, getting smaller. With one eye covered, I read down as far as possible. They come up with a number representing the quality of vision per eye.

    They I get 2 sets of eye drops. Some people say it stings a little. Its so mild though and last 5 seconds. They give me a tissue as my eyes run a little.

    Then I wait at least 15 minutes for the pupils to dilate. It will allow the camera to see much more.

    Then for the OCT they ask me to put my chin on a rest and look into a lens, with a couple of coloured lights. The operator will twiddle some controls, and may ask me to try and open my eye wider and not to blink.
    They take a picture, so there is a white flash. Usually one or two per eye. Some operators are better than others. The room is dim and the camera connected to a computer. They usually let me have a loot at the photo too. Its really interesting. Its usually 2-3 minutes per eye, or less.

    Then the other eye. Then another wait before a chat with the consultant or other doctor and give any useful feedback.

    They say most people are fairly light-sensitive for 6 hours, so bringing dark glasses is a good idea. They don't want people to drive after these eye drops. For me, its not 6, but more like 30 hours of sensitivity. But I love it! It makes my house seem brighter for a while!

    paul
     
    #2 Sosgez, Feb 17, 2021 at 5:02 PM
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
  3. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse · Well-Known Member

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    Surveillance is currently just like the annual photographic screening, it's just that it happens more often.

    Edited to add: Although, if someone has cataract which interferes with photography, they may attend Slit-Lamp Biomicroscopy surveillance annually.
     
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  4. emck88

    emck88 Type 1 · Member

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    Thank you!
     
  5. emck88

    emck88 Type 1 · Member

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    Thank you! This seems very like my experience of the eye clinic. I agree that most of it seemed to be waiting around (I think up to 3 hours on a busy pre-covid day).
     
  6. Wanderer89

    Wanderer89 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi, exactly the same happened to me in December. My follow up appointment was in February and it wasn’t any different to my annual screenings. My result letter was it’s been referred to hospital. When I asked about it they say it’s minor & that it’s always referred even with the smallest of changes. Not sure how long I’ll be waiting for the hospital appointment but I’m sure if it’s anything urgent they will get you in.
     
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