Thursday, March 28, 2019

PSA for Diabetes and your Eyesight

A pharmacist friend suggested I use my current medical situation to warn others about diabetes and your eye health. I'm usually not one to air personal medical problems online, but I think Lydia was correct. It's important for folks to know to be careful and vigilant when dealing with diabetes and health related issues.

A quick synopsis. About a year and half ago I discovered my A1C was out the roof. Into the hospital for shots of insulin and other medicine. I did well with diet and medication and kept levels fairy low. After a while I slacked on the diet.

I hadn't been to the eye doctor in years, but had recently noticed a slight distortion in the vision of my right eye. A waviness of what should have been straight lines. I went to an optometrist for new glasses. The best they could do for my vision was about 20/25 in my left eye with a new prescription. The right eye with glasses is at about 20/50. He noticed my right eye had a problem and sent me to an ophthalmologist. The Dr. said by the looks of my eyes it appeared I had been diabetic for at least 10 years.

The diagnosis was diabetic retinopathy with cystoid macular edema. I had to look it all up to figure out what it all meant.

"Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye (retina). Poorly controlled blood sugar is a risk factor. Early symptoms include floaters, blurriness, dark areas of vision, and difficulty perceiving colors. Blindness can occur. Mild cases may be treated with careful diabetes management. Advanced cases may require laser treatment or surgery."

The retinopathy is not curable but should not progress as long as the diabetes is under control. The edema might start in the other eye at some point in the future however.

"Macular edema occurs when fluid and protein deposits collect on or under the macula of the eye and causes it to thicken and swell. The swelling may distort a person's central vision, because the macula holds tightly packed cones that provide sharp, clear, central vision to enable a person to see detail, form, and color that is directly in the center of the field of view."

Mine has multiple tiny cyst-like areas of fluid on the very center of the macula on a area known as the fovea.

"Fovea: a small depression in the retina of the eye where visual acuity is highest. The center of the field of vision is focused in this region, where retinal cones are particularly concentrated."

Since the problem area is at the center of the fovea, laser surgery is not an option.

So how are we to treat the problem? Monthly injections of a chemo medicine into the eyeball itself in the hopes of reducing the swelling. Actually two injections. One antibiotic and then the medicine.

The vision in the right eye has now progressed to something more distorted. I'm hoping the shots help and vision returns to what is normal for me now. And I'm looking forward to the next round of injections which comes up two weeks from today so that I might see some progress in my vision.

Does it hurt? They numb the eye well, so not really at the time. A little. But when the numbness wears off if feels like a stick in the eye.

So, if you have diabetes, or suspect that you might, go to the doctor regularly and make sure to follow their medical advice. A lot depends on it.

Pictures are included on this post. The one of the blue house is the best I can explain how things look out of my right eye, except it's a combination of the blurry and distorted views. I've also included some pics of the eye and/or its parts. The other pic is of a scene from Clockwork Orange that sums up how I felt waiting for the treatment.





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