Eye (I) Scare(d): the lesser of 2 evils

If anyone has an opinion or a story please feel free. I am frightened and angry about my last eye check-up. I go every 6 months and get a comprehensive scan. My doctor told me I have a new blood vessel in my left eye that was on my optic nerve.

The way I understand treatment is that, if this situation doesn’t improve by my next visit (4 months from now) that he’s going to laser it and I will lose a portion of my peripheral vision (because that’s where the problem is). The reason I will lose a bit of my vision is that the laser kills off a portion of my eye when the laser stops the circulation. The reason it’s indicated is that if the new vessel bleeds I could lose all of my vision. So it boils bown to the same crap we have to deal with almost every day, it’s the lesser of 2 evils…

He gave me 4 months because my previous visits didn’t show this problem (therefore it’s new) I am T1 and I am in good control. He said if he didn’t know me or if I was anybody else he would have lasered it right away.

So who’s had this? How was it? I can’t think of much else right now…

oh yea I have had T1 for 30 years, tho today it seems like forever…

Joe, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I blogged about this on TuDiabetes not to long ago. I’ve been a T1 for about 21 years and have had several laster treatments in my left eye due to renegade blood vessels. I haven’t lost any of my vision and hopefully won’t, but I understand the anger and fear that you have.

I hope that the situation improves for you, especially since you said you have pretty much been in good control. If your doc is willing to wait 4 months, I’m sure he’s holding out that the situation will improve. I was in average to poor control and had the blood vessels in my eye, and it’s made me focus a lot harder on keeping my A1C down and maintaining the best control I can.

Pleae keep us informed of how everything goes - I’m sending good vibes your way. :slight_smile:


Joe I had lazer eye surgery on both my left and right eye to avoid going blind due to rupured nerves in my eyes. After I had it I won’t say it didn’t mess me up a little but I can still see out of both of them sometimes better without my glasses. The way I looked at it I had rather see a little than nothing at all! Then the surgery went great anyway!

Thank you Katrina, I feel the good vibes and I appreciate your story!

thanks as always Doris. I am a big baby sometimes. you’d think a big rusty needle in my eye wouldn’t scare me today but it does!!

Ok. I’m a little confused here.
I had my first laser treatment 7 years ago on Halloween, and, sometimes I tend to get in a “smartypants” mode and think I know everything (faaaaaar from it). Also, I’ve had db for 33 years.

I’ve got some questions.

  1. Have you had proliferation in that eye before?
  2. Are they primarily concerned because it’s near the optic nerve?
  3. If they laser near the optic nerve, why would you lose peripheral vision when the o.n. is not on the periphery?

Yes, the laser does destroy tissue - and I’m told that they can see the little dots of scar tissue when looking in the eye. In many cases, it does not destroy vision, because the scars are so very tiny. But, it depends on how much laser is done - a lot, a little, a little over a big area, a little in a concentrated area… blah blah blah.

Yet, I tend to think that if he’s giving you 4 months, there is a reasonable chance that it will improve. And, if you do have a bleed, many times they clear on their own in about 3-4 weeks, or, you could have a vitrectomy (I’ve had one in each eye.)

I know this is weighing on you like a ton of bricks. Major suckage. But, if you have some nagging questions, call the doctor. Ask to speak to his nurse. Maybe she can answer them.
Do everything you can to not freak out about this.

Or, how ;'bout a second opinion?

Eye problems are horrible. Just horrible. And nobody understands but yourself.

I had a very “unusually aggressive” case of proliferation which ended up in a fully detached retina. The evening before surgery, I was sent home with a booklet that said surgical results vary from “being able to recognize shapes to reading large print” but usually somewhere inbetween. I nearly chose not to have the operation because I thought “What’s the use”.
Well, at my first post-op appointment the doc said that I was healing beautifullly and he expected I would “get everything back”. I told him how frightened I had been from reading the pamphlet and he replied, “oh gosh, I guess I should have read it myself - that statement is no longer true…”.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

hi Kathy,

  1. no
  2. yes
  3. good point - don’t have the answer, my kid brother (i call just him that… he’s really a brilliant doctor in NYC) agrees it was a dumb thing to say but I may have been in shock and NOT heard him correctly. I am gong to call back and try to figure that one out.

the eye doc said he’s giving me time, I am guessing it’s the previous stability and my sugars are okay.

regarding your help - how long was the healing process for you? painful? did you get an injection (I can’t even describe how that scheeves me out thinking about it).

thank you so much for the reply!!

I would definitely seek a second opinion, hopefully with a MD that specializes in diabetic eye issues. I have been type 1 for 41 years and have avoided the eye doctor for the last two years, as I so understand how you are feeling and reacting and you are not a big baby. Keep us posted, but definitely get another opinion and I will try to schedule my way past due appointment .

Absolutely true about probably being in shock and not hearing everything correctly - that’s happened to me more than I care to admit. On the eye that I did not have the detachment, just the laser, my vision was really not disrupted at all. I didn’t even know that anything had taken place. Yes, I had an anesthetic injected, but again this depends on where the beam is going and how strong. I know of other people who had laser with no injection and no pain during the treatment. If you need the needle, you will deal with it. It is only about 20 seconds. You can do anything for 20 seconds. I really hate to say much more, because everybody’s different and there is no need to get all upset about something that may not happen (been there, done that also)… But, sometimes as the vessels that are lasered die, they shrink and little bits of blood comes out. No big deal. The body just absorbs it. IPeople often ask me about a decrease in night vision - I had none. I can see okay in the dark. My pupil doesn’t contract as fast as it should, so if I go into a dark movie matinee on a bright sunny day, it takes longer for my eyes to adjust. Also no big deal. A really funny thing happened two winters ago. I fell on the ice and broke my ankle and had to go to the hospital by ambulance. The paramedic was shining a penlight in my eyes and he really freaked out when the pupil did not contract. He thought I’d hit my head on the pavement and had a brain injury. It took a lot of explaining for him to believe that this was just the way that eye worked.
I am not trying to make light of any of this. It’s just that I traveled through the experience and survived, in a reasonable state of wholeness.

Hi Kathy - thank you so much for taking the time to talk about this with me, your information was great to hear. I don’t think you’re “making light” or anything like that, your experience is what I want to know about and I know everybody is different. Thanks again.

BTW I hope your ankle healed well and, having broken my little toe a many years ago, that pain must have KILLED.

In the meantime - I do have some time to think about this and gather opinions and prepare.

Hi Karen, thanks for the input - when you say avoided the eye doctor, do you mean checkups or the laser beam? 41 years is great - keep up the great work and thanks!

Joe, I have been reading this thread and I SO wish I could give you emotional support. You know doctors don’t always seem to understand the importance of a kind, comforting but honest explanation. Yes, we are scared to death when we get such news… I have been there too. I have had lasers in both eyes and a vitrectomy in one. AND HERE I AM NOW - DOING JUST FINE! We get through this stuff. EVERYTHING Kathy said was right to the point. I also had the same questions - particularly number three. I have also had the same reactions after the treatments as she has had. Kathy suggested you go back and have the doctor further clarify. I would say, particularly point three. Find out what your alternatives are. What exactly are the dangers and advantages of each alternative? Ask WHY your doctor recommends a particular treatment; how he weighs the pluses and minuses of the given the treatment. Thank goodness you have good diabetic control - that helps healing. What is so hard about diabetes is learning to accept that ■■■■ hits the fan no matter how hard we try!

Chrissie - thanks for your kind words and encouragement. I know for sure that I am not alone! I am doing some research and I am in the process of calming down. It’s the first few days after bad news that I have the most troubles.

I understand that there is both laser and conventional surgery. I kinda get why bleeding is so important (my brother described blood hitting the neurons akin to splashing your digital camera with acid).

I was reading that there is some therapeutic injection, but I don’t know what that is all about yet.

My concern is if I will have more and more issues as I age, but the OC here, and what I have learned so far is that it can “come and go”.

I really want to thank you and all who have contributed for sharing their stories. By learning this way I can feel more secure, and know that I am walking where footprints have been laid out before me.


you’re welcome! thanks for your thoughts. I’ll try to explain a bit about how I feel: When first I saw my exam results I went into shock. It’s the first exam in 30 years of type 1 that had anything “bad” on it. I am just scared, s’all. My eye doctor is well respected and reportedly has done 000’s of laser surgeries - between his practice here in 'Jersey and the other one in New York City. I have heard of these things going away and I have also read many people’s experiences with the surgery and the results and the impacts. I am a little less scared now - but eye problems scheeve me out a bit! Thanks for the reply and best wishes on your upcoming exam!

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to follow up! I read a lot of stories on this and other online communities and my frustration is I almost never get to hear “the latest”.

I went for a 2nd opinion and the specialist saw the same things, and recommended the same things as my doctor. One nice thing, for me, was that this doctor was also a T1 diabetic/pumper, too. I guess it made me feel a little better, knowing that this doctor in particular, understood the issues.

I decided in favor of laser treatment. The treatment was a little uncomfortable. I got about 750 hits of laser all around my eye. That vessel on my nerve couldn’t be treated directly - the doc said he would certainly hit the nerve if he even tried, so he treated it indirectly. I could see pretty good in 5 minutes and then well enough to drive in 15. Bright light was very uncomfortable but I had my sunglasses. Later that day it felt like a “bad allergy” day. I took a day off from work but was back at it again the next day.

One disturbing thing I read about was that the trigger for diabetic retinopathy (prolific) is sometimes when glucose control gets tighter from previous. It seems that when more stabile control is accomplished after swinging blood sugars, it can actually trigger new blood vessel growth in your eye. That’s a double edge sword, isn’t it? There was also some indication that it would also “calm down” after a while. One thing I know for sure is after I got my pump my control has gotten way more flatter than it ever has.

So I feel good and I anxiously await my follow up visit. Thanks again for all your help and stories, believe me it is great when you are scared.


Joe…So glad things went well for you, not to make light of the discomfort. You must have been thrilled to find a T1, pumping doc! That is huge. I’d suspect that he would be especially looking out for you.

Good luck with your follow ups…keep us posted.

I used to think that I could smell the lasering, but that’s just me and probably my imagination. I will ask Dr Uram if that can happen. I see (!!!) him this spring for my annual (how are you? eyes look great.) visit

Just to let you know, I have had three such appearances, and at the next checkup they were gone.

That’s great news. I am happy for you. Maybe since I’ve seen the eye doctor, things have changed. I know I’m over due but I do plan on setting an appointment. It’s just that I have to pick a new opthalmologist (This word keeps blacking out on me, I’m pretty sure I spelled it right) because my last one was out of state.

I was told thirteen years ago that I had to have my eyes lasered and I panicked. I was seven months pregnant and I had seen this physician for many years. My husband decided to decline the surgery and took me for a second opinion. That went ok. Then we went for a third opinion. Also ok. So I never had the procedure.

I went back to the opthalmologist a year after my daughter was born. He was freaked. He said it was a miracle. The damage disappeared. He even went as far as discussing my case with others because it was something new at the time.

I have found that other diabetic women have experienced this same outcome years later. I guess when it comes to the eyes, the physician is in quite a position. I guess the outcome depends on the individual and what genes are inherited and how well keep our sugars. Otherwise we would all be bouncing into walls. I thank God the lasering has advanced. I don’t know what I would do if I lost my sight but I’ll cross that bridge when it happens I guess.

Hi Barbara: Oh we are surely hoping and praying that you won’t be
crossing that bridge. It sounds like you have been through way too
much as it is.