I’ve Been Here Before

Everything I went through with my right eye is now happening to my left.  I’ve known this for awhile but hoped it would stop progressing once I got my diabetes under control.  I guess because it is so far progressed, there is little hope of it stopping on its own no matter how well I control my diabetes.

Some complications of diabetes can be “reversed” if caught early enough and improvement in diabetes and overall health is made.  In some circumstances, though, the damage is done.

For me and my eyes, I neglected my diabetes for too long and developed proliferative diabetic retinopathy.  I went many years without health care and was unable to get the treatment I needed so my eyes continued to deteriorate.  When I finally was able to get health care again (which obviously included eye care) I was at the point of needing surgeries in my right eye and laser treatments in my left.  I have gotten my diabetes under good control and am getting better every day, but for my eyes this doesn’t mean much now.  Obviously the better I control my diabetes the less the damage will progress, but in some respects the future doesn’t look all that bright or clear.

When I went to the ophthalmologist in early 2014 they did a full exam. Scans, pictures, tests, exams, an  I.V. that injected dye into my bloodstream so they could get nicely contrasted pictures of the tiny blood vessels in my eyes.  The whole nine yards.  None of the tests and scans were uncomfortable or painful int he slightest.  There were just a lot of them.

At this time I confirmed what I already knew.  My right eye was really bad off and my left wasn’t too far behind.

I had a steroid injection, four surgeries (gas, oil, scleral buckle, vitrectomies, lens replacement, etc.), tests, treatments, lasers, medications, exams…all in one year’s time on my right eye.bw7

During this same year I had tests, scans, exams, and laser treatments done on my left eye.

All the while I’ve been working hard on getting my diabetes and overall health in line.  I’ve dropped my A1c considerably and it is still coming down, I eat healthy the vast majority of the time although I still struggle with the occasional bad decision (we can’t all be perfect all the time, but we try). I exercise a minimum of five days a week and am always working on increasing my activity level to maximize my physical health.

Today I went in for an eye check-up. My retina specialist informed me that there is very little left that can be done for my right eye.  Basically it’s just a “maintaining what is left” game now. I’m stuck with what I got left there which is just being able to perceive light and movement.

She then informed me that I need more laser surgery on my left eye because there are more blood vessels sprouted and some micro-hemorrhages. I also need a steroid injection in that eye before the laser because there is some swelling that will only be aggravated by the laser.

“Our aim is to do everything we can to avoid having to do surgery on your left eye.”  Of, course she was referring to invasive surgery, not laser.

This was my favorite thing to hear from this doctor. I really don’t like the idea of more surgery.

Of course the ultimate goal is to save what’s left of my sight.

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Author: Tamra K. Garcia

Stephen King says to "Write what you know." I know diabetes, I know me; so this is what I write about.

2 thoughts on “I’ve Been Here Before”

  1. Your story is enough to scare me straight. My eyes are more blurry now, but I also have corneal erosion messing with mine. The last time at the Ophthalmologist I was still not showing damage from the Diabetes. I hope they can save your left eye. Sorry about the right one.

    Like

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