Many T1 Diabetics Have Eye Protection

Many of the Joslin medalists, with type 1 diabetes for at least 50 years, have been found to have protection from diabetic retinopathy. I may be one of them since my ophthalmologist has been saying for many years that I do not have any diabetes related eye damage after 66 years of T1D. It is hoped that further study of a small subgroup of the medalists will "lead to a means to prevent or slow the progression of " diabetic eye disease.

Richard, Thanks for the confirmation of the good news. My opthamologist of over 25 years, who I see for annual exams, has had his residents in opthamology look at my eyes. He says to them. "Examine her eyes and look carefully. You may not ever again see healthy eyes like hers in a person with diabetes for over 40 years. No diabetic retinopathy at all". So I guess we ARE rare for the general diabetes population. I call it decades of injected c-peptides in the animal insulins, aided by the Grace of God.
God bless,
Type one 43 years

Brunetta I agree with your reply! I did not have any complications until I started synthetic insulins in the 1990s. There is no C-peptide in modern day insulins. I had to work so hard to reverse those complications. I feel I am complication free again. I hope both of us can say that for many years ahead!

It is interesting that you mention C peptides in the old animal insulins. I was diagnosed near the end of the use of animal insulins,and was on them for maybe around a year or a little over and then was switched to human insulin. I gotta wonder if you are onto something. Going on close to 30 years with NO complications. And god knows I did not always have the best of control. My opthalmologist says too there is absolutely no sign of any damage to my eyes...heheh Im horribly nearsighted, and have astigmatism BUT so does everyone else in my family and I had that for years before becoming diabetic.

Same here, Christy.. I,too,have a lot of nearsightedness and astigmatism, basically since I began wearing glasses at 5: almost 10 years before the onset of diabetes. Those are the only eye issues (other than Lyrica induced diplopia -double vision- another story)that I have ever had.
I wish there was a way c-peptides could be included with the synthetic mix, somehow. Just a thought.
God bless,

Great report ...thanks !!
I am not even half way with living with d , Richard ...close to 30 years( 1983 ) . I am another one wearing classes since age 6 ( and managed to loose them frequently back then :) )...the good news : I don't have diabetic retinopathy either. My eyes are getting " old " ; I had cataract surgery in 2008 and 2 days ago received age related treatment for glaucoma ( pressure has been up since last visit , twice daily drops did not do the trick ) ...70 shots each eye of laser , follow up visit Aug 1 . Was told I can continue doing what I am always doing , such as regular exercise .Eye Specialist gave me drops incase eyes feel dry ; have not had to use them . I visit my opthamologist every 6-8 ms .

Sounds good nel, but you had me worried! you said you are "not even half way living...". that made it sound like you were sinking fast! HAHA!! I am just kidding. I hope you are doing well over all. I had cataracts removed about 15 years ago. Carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve surgeries. Gout attacks...etc. All of these minor difficulties are more prevalent among diabetics.

I think it will be interesting to see what they learn from studying the 50-year Joslin Medalists.

The problem with the c-peptide theory is that everyone else who got complications and/or have long since died also took the same animal insulins with c-peptide. Starting to get complications when starting human insulins could just as easily be related to duration of diabetes, not just the change in insulin.

With the today’s tools for achieving tight BG control, there should be many people who escape retinopathy and other diabetes complications without ever having been on animal insulins. And unfortunately there will continue to be people who get all sorts of complications.

I’ve had Type 1 for 36 years and feel fortunate to have no retinopathy or neuropathy. I’ve always felt that exercise is one of the main things that has kept me healthy, especially in the early years pre-home BG testing. I’m not convinced that animal insulins had anything to do with it, but I’m open to any studies explaining why some of us have escaped the ravages of Type 1. I’ve had excellent a1c’s for many years, but certainly not great control in my early years. I personally don’t have any memory of significant changes in my health relating to synthetic insulins.

As I said above, I think it will be interesting to see if Joslin finds commonalities among the 50-year Medalists.

Found on Facebook today , mentioning Joslin's Medalist eye disease study etc.

Thanks, Nel!!

Lathump, I agree with what you have said. It seems so strange to me that for more than 50 years I had no complications at all, while using animal insulins. Then I had several complications show up during the first few years after using synthetic insulins. I had to use very tight control to reverse those complications, and using a pump certainly helped. Only some mild nerve damage remains after 66 years of T1.

It is going to be very interesting to discover what exactly the common link may be. It has to be something more than just sheer random luck that some people despite how well they may or may not have controlled their diabetes, manage to be unscathed by the disease, where others despite control just seem to be prone to complications.

I think its fasanating about the C peptides, especially since I myself got diagnosed right at the end of their usage, but I also think with tools that are available today to manage such tight control, it is hard to say that those people despite the use of animal insulins won't also be spared complications. I guess only time and lots of research will shed some light onto this. I just wonder if it's not going to be some random thing. Like how some of us have a strong family history of diabetes...where other's like seems to be just a completle autoimmune issue. I got sick from the flu, never was able to fully recover from it, and diabetes immediately followed. Out of all my family history. I had ONE I guess it would be a Great Aunt who was a Type 2...other than that nothing. Until I came along lol. My child is almost 17 and has had no signs/symptoms what so ever of diabetes. I haven't bothered to have him tested to see if he carries any of those theory is what does it change, he either does or he doesn't and he either may or may not be diabetic. After 17 years...Im going with the odd's are in my favor he's not.

I agree with you Christy. My sons were never tested, and they have not tested my grandkids. They do watch how much junk food they eat, and my grandkids eat healthy too.

That's a very different viewpoint than either the older WESDR findings, which was that retinopathy is absolutely inevitable:

WESDR used to publish this statement:

After 20 years of diabetes, nearly all patients with type 1 diabetes and >60% of patients with type 2 diabetes have some degree of retinopathy.

The DCCT and follow-ons did revolutionize things by showing that retinopathy rates are strongly elevated as average bg goes up.

I know when I was first diagnosed, I only got my bg checked every few months, and then there was a delay of several days until the doctor's office called back with the number. I think very very few of the 50 year group has any knowledge of even average bg's (never mind the complete lack of home bg testing) until the past few decades, so to me there's a 30 year question mark about bg control. I mean I had urine testing but that has a threshold of like 180 in bg.

All T1 diabetics injected animal insulins with C-peptides up through the 1980's, and despite that the typical published universal expectation was:

After 20 years of diabetes, nearly all patients with type 1 diabetes and >60% of patients with type 2 diabetes have some degree of retinopathy.

When I was first diagnosed, I had an endo who told me that his theory was that all diabetes complications were caused by impurities in insulin, and as a result that trying hard to control bg by taking insulin resulted in the complications. I obviously don't believe that (the DCCT data completely blew that theory out of the water), but that was a common attitude back then. With no home bg testing, it was really like stone knives and bearskins.

Thanks Tim, that is very interesting. In some eays I was healthier as a cave man, than I am today. Lol

True ,Tim.. I only got bg testing( at the dr's office or hospital) two to three times a year following my initial diagnosis in 1968. I did not regularly check it more than once daily until the early 90's, after the DCCT. So for me there was ,at least; a 25 year period where I was basically clueless about what my blood glucoses were.. And frankly, I do not remember even being concerned about it. I just wanted to the test-tape to stay yellow ( or at least lime green rather than winter green ) You longtimers know what I am talking
God bless,

Hahaha I remember when I was diagnosed blood glucose monitors were just then starting to come out...and I remember from what my mother tells me it being VERY pricey I think they paid over $200 for it...maybe more, but the hospital really pushed that I have one, and honestly hahaha I could NEVER make heads or tails out of trying to guestimate where my BG was by comparing them to colors on a vial. Things really have come a long way.

Christy, haha the "Test-tape" was for Urine to test for ketones. I remember those blood glucose strips that had you to compare colors on the vial to get a blood sugar, you made me remember. Another ancient diabetes care artifact. I came from the old old school where all we had to test was urine. The goal was to keep from spilling sugar, not to mnsge blood sugar levels. I remember tyring to get a home glucometer, about the size of telephone book, that cost $700 and insurance would not pay for it.. maybe this was around 1981,'82? I decided not to get one...Wow!! we have come a really long way, as you said.

God bless,

I was diagnosed in 1985 and yes that meter was HUGE and you are absolutely right insurance would NOT pay for it at all. Hahaha I remember having some urine test strips too, that they wanted you to test in addition to you BG..checked both sugar and ketones. LOL what a waste of time, I mean yes its important to check for ketones...but if your BG levels are decent...why bother to check for sugar in your pee too. I think I probably messed with it the first year I was diabetic in addition to home bg testing...once or twice a day, then I just only checked for ketone if I was sick or running really high. Now today, lol I dont get excited about the occassional high reading and I can probably count on one hand the number of high's I get a month..usually around that time of the month, when I get an uncontrolable urge for chocolate, lol so I KNOW its my own fault for being high and I correct and come right back down...but I have them anyway just in case you get those highs and stay high, but knock on wood, since I switched to lantus/humalog...and now my pump that just has NOT happened.