Havent Been To Eye Doctor, What To Expect

Hey Guys, It’s Been 3 Years Since I’ve Been To An Eye Doctor, I’m 22 and have had diabetes 21 years. I have a ton of D friends who are having eye problems and now i’m being proactive to make sure mine are ok. I have no vision problems other than needing glasses. No floaters, i’ve read a ton of horror stories and i was wondering how long you guys have went without going to the eye doctor, and if your eyes were ok when you did go?!

Thanks Guys

Have A Great Rest Of Your Day

I assume you’re referring to an opthamologist, not a regular optometrist (doctor for glasses). I usually go about once a year… there are periods of time when I went less frequently and times when I went more frequently. And I’ve moved around a lot, so I’ve been to many.

Generally, they look in my dilated (what a pain!) eyes, and see a few “microanyeurisms” (sp?). They jot them down and send a report off to the endo. The next time, they do the same, but the ones they see are not the same as the first time. I’m told that my eyes are “healthy… for a diabetic”, meaning they don’t look like a non-diabetic’s eyes, but there’s nothing to be concerned about.

This after 30 years of Type 1 (got it at age 7). So whether I’ve gone or not gone honestly makes little difference, there’s been no treatment for anything. I suppose if they saw something, it would be important to treat it somehow right away, but if your experience is like mine, then there’s nothing lost.

Still, I’d suggest getting yourself to an opthamologist just to be sure. It’s a real pain in the ■■■ since you can’t drive afterwards (even though they will tell you that you can; I tried once and it was scary and dangerous) and the rest of your day is wasted until your eyes come back to normal size, but for once a year and for some piece of mind, it’s tolerable.

Standards have changed in the past half century.

At one time it was taken for granted that every T1 would have retinopathy after 10 or 20 years. That’s simply not true in the home-bg-monitoring era today.

Some standards of care have recently relaxed the religiously-every-year opthamologist recommendation, and say that if there is zero retinopathy so far then maybe once every 2 or 3 years would be OK.

Today most optometrists can do dilated eye exams although to tell you the truth I think the opthomalogists are more thorough. Just about all of them have fancy-pants cameras but my experience is that an experienced doc is way better at spotting things than any camera.

In the early stages of non-proliferative retinopathy, even today in the era of ray guns and laser surgery, there’s evidently nothing done but to get it checked every so often, and you aren’t even at the early stages.

I don’t have retinopathy but I do have macular drusen a early sign of macular degeneration… Wouldn’t it be ironic for me to go blind after 50 years of T1, but not from diabetic retinopathy? Or would that in fact be a victory?

I go to a retinologist every year. Knock on wood, all is fine & only been T1 for 3 years.

Hi Craig, I recently went through exactly the same thing. Before I tell you my story let me say one thing…it is extremely important to visit an opthamologist reg. Your eyes are extremely important and you are only ever given one set so its important to look after them. These days quite a few diabetic complications can be rectified IF PICKED UP EARLY.

So my story…I have been EXTREMELY LUCKY in regard to my eyes. Next year will be my 30th anniversary of being diagnosed with T1-D. As a child, during visits to my endo at the childrens hospital they would check my eyes on a yearly basis. This is the mid to late 80’s and I hated the methods they used with a passion - if I have one phobia its people touching my eyes and I would literally fight off the nurse trying to put the dilation drops in my eyes because she would hold my eyelids open. I guess this affected my subconscious because once I became an adult (yes, yes this is still under debate :wink: ) I neglected to go to an opthamologist for about 20 YEARS…yes you did read that right, 20 years! I consider myself very well educated in all things D and my body and was fully aware of the dangers and the ‘what could happens’. While my a1C’s over the years have fluctuated, I have never returned wild results, my endo always looked in my eyes and I never had floaters (just like you). None of this is a substitute for an opthamologist exam but I guess it was telling my subconscious that everything was ok.

Just like you, I wear glasses to see distance and it was on a prescription check about 6 months ago that I ticked the check eye health option (again no substitute for a proper exam). The eye check revealed a tiny bit of spotting away from my macula and she recommended I see an opthamologist for a proper check (of course I lied to her telling her I have one every year!). This kicked me into action and two weeks later I was in a opthamologists office for a check. How things have progressed in 20 years! The assistant didn’t even have to touch my eyes, she simply rolled the drops into my eyes without fuss…turns out she didn’t need the boxing head protection gear that I insisted she wear! Anyway it turns out that the spotting is extremely minor and my eyes are doing very well for the years of D under my belt.

I will re-itterate that I was extremely lucky…and stupid! No matter what the reason is as to why you have been avoiding it, DO IT! The exam is nothing to worry about - best case there is nothing to find, worst case they pick something up but more often than not it can be rectified or halted before it worse.

Floaters are common after the age of 40, but you ain’t there yet! :slight_smile: An eye exam by a good ophthalmologist is a peace-of-mind move. Could be they’ll find nothing, in which case you come back in a year, and feel pretty good about having good eyes. Or they DO find something, in which case, it may be minor, like the spot hemorrhage they found in my eye a few months ago (after 20 years of diabetes), which will heal itself with no problem, or it may be intermediate, like non-proliferative retinopathy, which they simply watch, because it doesn’t, in itself, interfere with vision, but may progress to something major, like proliferative retinopathy, which CAN damage your vision. But the good news is that they have treatments for PR, and blindness can be prevented.

The exam itself is kind of a PITA because they dilate your eyes, and you spend a lot of time there, but it’s worth it. Most people would prefer not to go blind (did I say most? Maybe all?) and if you have an ophtho, you are in the best position to prevent it from ever happening.

Hi, do not worry. If you are not having any problems with your eyesight then really you should take this with a pinch of salt. From my experience all that will happen will be that you will be asked to read a chart as you would for a normal sight test. Then they put some drops in your eyes to dilate the pupils (that is the worst bit!) and asked to wait a while until your eyes are sufficiently dilated for the doctor to look with a torch at the back of the eye.

Then you will be asked to rest your chin on a sort of platform and they will look again, then they will take photographs and that is it. There are a few flashing lights, depending on how many pictures they take. These are stored on computer and that is it. You may get a letter back in a few weeks to let you know if everything is okay, or if you need to meet with someone. Incidentally they might say that they have found “small diabetic changes” which are tiny bleeds and are nothing to worry about.

But since you have nothing much wrong with your eyes apart from the normal need to wear glasses, I should think you will do well. The only thing to remember is that you will need dark glasses to protect your eyes from the sun while the medication wears off as you will find you are rather light sensitive. And for a while you will not be able to read print or do close up work. This is totally normal.

It just goes to show that you cannot believe everything you read! Nor is it a good idea to dwell on things too much. Every case is individual and the majority are fine.

Its been two years for me due to no insurance…I go next Friday I will let you know how it went…The last couple of times my eye were good so I do not think it would be much of a difference now…

I’m in a kind of similar boat to Ant97gtr. I avoided the eye doc for several years because I HATE having my eyes messed with. I wear glasses but would just get my prescription refilled at my local hour eyes because I hate having my eyes dilated, touched, etc. I’ve been T1 for almost 30 years and I’m fortunate to have only mild to moderate nonproliferative retinopothy, which I was told is pretty common in someone who’s been T1 for so long. I finally went to an opthomologist recently after a 3-year hiatus. Still mild to moderate NP retinopothy and I have to go back in a couple of weeks for a follow-up. For now, they want me coming in 3-4 times per year (so every 3-4 months). The eye doc said that if things stay stable, I can back off to once every 6 months at a minimum.

I know eye checks are important, and I know intellectually that a lot of things can be treated if they are caught early. But for some reason I get so much anxiety around going that it’s insane. The last time I went three years ago, I actually threw up in the parking lot on the way into the office because of nerves. This most recent visit, I really focused on using deep breathing and other relaxation techniques. I was still nervous as H-LL but at least I managed to keep my breakfast down :slight_smile:

On the contrary, LC, it is VERY possible to have significant retinopathy and not notice any changes in your vision. Nowadays, it is much less common than it used to be before the days of meters and tightened control, but it still happens.

For example, it is possible to have microaneurysms in your eyes, which don’t affect vision at all, but if one of them bursts, (and they are very weak) then you will have a hemorrhage, and if it’s in the center of your vision, you will have a blind spot, which may or may not resolve. Likewise, you can have (weak) new blood vessels grow in the central part of your eye, and as long as they hold, you will not notice them, but if they burst, you have a major bleed, and blindness until it resolves, or you have a vitrectomy to remove the bloody gel from the inside of your eye.

I won’t go on about all the things that can happen, but just because you think you have good vision does NOT mean your eyes are OK, and regular ophtho visits are a must.

Hey Everyone, Thanks For All The Input, I Really Hope Everything Goes Well. From The Time I Was 5 I Used To Always Ask My Mom If I’d Go Blind, It’s Always Terrified Me. After My Last Few Rebelious Diabetes Years, And Life Events, Life is starting to get back on track. I Just Bought A Hummer H2, I’m Running My Own Business, Engaged To The Love Of My Life, And Trying For A Child. I Just Hope That I Stay Healthy Enough To Enjoy All These Wonderful Things.

I’m on the sidelines, rooting for you! Just remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life, and go from there. Past is gone, and future hasn’t come, so do your best TODAY! :slight_smile:

Very true the high a1c’s and the last 3 years that i’ve been wreckless and everything else is done. The one thing that i can be thankful for is that from the age of 1 to 17 my parents were so involved in my heath care that my a1c’s never ran high and if they did not for long, it was always 7, 8, and the occasional 9’s. Its only the last few years that I bounced from 10 to 13 and back and forth, my meter suggested an 11 a1c because i test when i need to give correction or meal insulin, however i had my last a1c as 7.7 I dk how i pulled that off!!! :slight_smile:

I went 44 years without visiting an actual eye doctor. My first visit was this year, 9 months after my dx and all they do is dilate your pupil and look at your retina from the top, sides, bottom, to get the best view or the edges with one of those flashlight peeper things. No big deal, but had no idea that my tiny pupils could get big enough that only 1 or 2 mm of my iris shows.

They also check your eyes with a puff of air or now a little device that they put Really close to your eye until it beeps, for your eye pressure. They also check your eye glasses to see if it is the proper prescription after the eye test. Good that someone mentioned the sunglasses if it is a sunny day. I usually feel tired and need a nap after I get home because of the dialation eye drops, I think, puts me out.

Good New Guys. My Pressure Was 13 In Both Eyes, My vision naturally got worse but not from diabetes. The doctor said he is very impressed because he didnt even see sings of diabetes, let alone retniopathy, in my eyes… new contacts, new glasses, and piece of mind

Thank you all, your support made me less nervous about going :slight_smile:

So happy to hear the good news! All that worry for nothing, LOL!! :slight_smile:

I go every year and they always dialate my eyes and numb them to check density or something. He’s never told me why he needs to check the density but since I started the adult endo, its been done. I’ve never had a problem with my eyes and the only real reason as to why I have to go in november-january is for other eye problems.