24 Years in, just had my first tiny eye issue

Went to the Opthalmologist today. Have to go back in 6 months. He saw two tiny spots in left eye, says almost doesn’t look like diabetic retinopathy, but he has to consider it that because i’m a diabetic. He was wincing and saying essentially it could be that I lifted something heavy and that they were fading spot(s). It seemed to pain him to classify it that way!

I DID lift something heavy, but he says not to worry about it and it is a technicality. I lifted a tree branch that was heavy, heavy two days ago and dragged it across the yard. So mad at myself!

Just wanted to say that those of us on here who have controlled retinopathy for decades are my heroes now, who I look up to. I’m 33 still and hope to control and fight this for decades to come, if that is even in the cards. Lord knows, my family tends to dismiss my anxieties too flippantly.


I have been freaked out about retinopathy for 47 years. In my book, that is the one thing I can never be too freaked out about.


My whole life, growing up, my mom used to say, “You’ll go blind if you eat that ___.” It never happened. Retinopathy ceases to scare me at 41.

I only recently started worrying about retinopathy. Maybe it’s because I read too much.
You know those studies that say you have a 90% chance of retinopathy once you are 20 years past diagnosis.

I’m not going to stop lifting things because of that, I’m going to stop lifting things when I get too old to lift things.

If I get a bleed or a tear, I might have to alter my thinking.
For now I’m accepting the risks, keeping in range as best as I can


It’s tough, Timothy. I have seen my aunt and grandmother have retinopathy, both 50 years with type 1. One is 58 and the other is 90.

Neither complain about any vision loss, except grandma and some blurriness. Honestly, that could be her age too, but nobody is telling her that!

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Well you aren’t alone. It took me almost 30 years but I’m now having ongoing vitreous bleeding from retinopathy. Had lasers (NOT fun!) and injections (also not particularly enjoyable). Still getting the sharp needles in the eyes every month. Now waiting for vitrectomy which I’m not looking forward to at all; I’m quite the wimp when it comes to my eyes. But seriously blurred vision in my eye is also no picknick.


I am 47 years in and the optomologist said up until now it was your option to come in every six months. Now I am telling you that it is no longer your opetion. Now you must come every six months.

Beyond weird to me that he my doc said what he said.

Lifting heavy objects? I haven’t heard that before. I go out of my way to lift heavy objects and use a rowing machine frequently. Age hasn’t impeded that. I always figure what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Anyone have a citation about this?

May be different type of bleed from weight lifting vs diabetic retinopathy.

He said that on my scan it appeared like the bleed was fading, and that it almost looked like i lifted something heavy…maybe a bleed elsewhere can show up faintly on a retina scan, or perhaps a strain can cause a microanuerysm in the retina, similar to how it can cause a detached retina? Who knows.

Three years ago my ophthalmologist saw 2 tiny dark dots in MY left eye, and let me know it was likely the start of retinopathy (25 years type 1, no complications, HB 7.2), but then the following time they were gone and haven’t returned. Yay!

Wait until next exam before any fretting, just keep doing things “as well as you reasonably can”. =)


Praying for you, hoping for me too!

I noticed that some doctors weigh your years with diabetes more heavily than the actual exam.

I would go to my doctor and fill out a card with number of years since diagnosis etc etc. then have retinal photos.

At 25 years I got that card back with a diagnosis that I had new blood vessel growth. And new blood vessels are more likely to break.

I went to an ophthalmologist who told me at 25 years most diabetics show signs of retinopathy. But he looked and saw nothing. That’s the same thing I’ve had every year since. Now at 35 years.

They don’t ask the question anymore and I’ve not had a photo comeback with any comments since.

I like getting the photos done because it lowers my anxiety about it for a while after.

Second opinions are golden.

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I was ten years in when my retinopathy started to develop. My BGs were somewhat out of control. I subsequently over the succeeding five years went through injections, a vitrectomy, and a retina peel. I brought my BGs down over the next five years and my retinopathy is in remission and my eyesight has stabilized at 20/30 left and 20/50 right (with glasses) for last three years.

Pay attention to your BGs.


I am at 40 years in. I have had my retina doctor say that he sees some signs of retinopathy, possibly non-diabetic, in my right eye several times but it comes and goes.

But drusen. Wow my retina doctor loves talking about my drusen. Which evidently are an early sign of age-relayed macular degeneration. And seems to be untrelated to diabetes (although my doc admits maybe there is a relation but very few studies of diabetics extend 40 or more years).

I have several more pressing eye issues (including Fuch’s dystrophy) that I see a different eye doctor for, too.

My impression is that my eye doc feels what he can see in the slit-lamp exam is way more relevant than any of his fancy cameras. Yes he has the fancy cameras but he’s way more talkative about what he sees with that bright slit lamp.

There’s also that photo they take after shooting me full of carrot juice. While that was a common thing 10 or more years ago they haven’t done it to me lately so maybe not so In favor anymore.

I remember when the cameras had real film that they ran to the darkroom for processing, then were replaced by Polaroids maybe 25 years ago but in the past decade all the cameras are now digitize. I was a big darkroom fanatic in my youth and I’m always happy to see the “darkroom” sign at my eye doctor but his staff they just use it for storage for the past decade.

He also has several machines that do tomography on the back of my eyeball. That’s somehow related toAMD progression.

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I’m had T1D for 53 years. Had proliferative retinopathy at the “customary” 15 year point. With excellent care by a top retina man, I have my vision, although somewhat compromised. Dr. Brian Leonard used to use my case when teaching at our med school. My current ophthalmologist said a few years ago that it’s a miracle I can see. You have the right approach - controlling and fighting for years to come. And you will!!


I get retinal photos every year and I get an exam every other year. That’s when I get the most anxiety because he never says anything during the exam only after.
He says things like mmmhmmm uhhhhhh ok ok. Ah ha.
And it freaks me out. But I’m going to be finding a new doctor now that I moved.
I’m going to lay it out to him from the get go. No ah ha no matter what you find.


I was dx with diabetes in 1955, and with “background retinopathy” in late 1970s. In summer of 1982, while still learning how to use home blood glucose monitoring effectively, but considered in pretty good control by the standards of the time, symptoms began, and I had pan-retinal photocoagulation by laser that winter. Was pretty severely affected, visually, during that period, but did get better slowly.

Had a bad bleed in 1993 while bending over to pull a weed in the garden that had a stronger root than I expected (glechoma hederacea). I initially thought it was dirt running down the outside of my eye, but was bleeding inside, more laser. But retinopathy has been stable in the 29 years since, and I’m living well even with the dark floaters and light sensitivity and poor night vision. I did have cataracts removed about 15 years ago, and a slight pulling away of the retina about 7 years ago that resolved on its own. Didn’t seem to affect my vision except for the flashing light for a matter of hours, and more floaters afterwards. And, yes, I also have druzen now, and have family with macular degeneration. But I am almost 76, and that doesn’t seem to be progressing quickly. And the retinal specialist always tells me the retina is stable.