Super scary subject-Retinopathy

Ok. I have to get something super scary off of my chest. Two months ago, I went to my regular optometrist ( think the spelling is right) for my eye exam and to get my prescription update if needed.

Here enters the scary part, So she dialates my eyes and begins the exam. She started in my right eye. Well, as she is shining the ridiculous bright light in my eye... I knew something was up because she was spending a LONG time over there. She backs away from really quickly and says "Well, darling, I have found some spots in your right eye." Yes, she referred to them as "spots." My heart was racing, my whole body spilled into a ridiculous sweat! I asked her what she meant by "spots" in my eye...She said that I needed to see my regular PCP when I could and ask to be referrred to a Retinal Specialist. I couldn't speak at this point. I broke out in tears. This idiot woman is giving me some super scary news and is acting so very casual about it...My husband was waiting in the lobby and I needed him in there so bad at this point. But, by the way she was acting about these "spots" I just couldn't understand why she was being so lax about it. She finally looked in my left eye and that was fine. So, when she is making conversation with me (winch) I was literally replying in squeks. She then does the eye exam where you read the little letters with one eye covered on the wall. I can't EVER remember having my eyes dialated and then doing an eye exam for glasses. I had tears in my eyes and could barely read the damn letters on the wall. Her response? She jotted something down on her stupid little notepad and said "Your eyes have changed DRAMATICALLY since the last time you were here." My first thought was "No crap!" I have tears in my eyes and my vision is blurry because you just dialted them!!

So, I walk out to the lobby where my husband-he knew something was wrong immediately. I could barely make it out of the lobby door before I literally broke down.

We made it to the car and I called my mother and father. I told them what was happening. They cried-I don't know why. They were trying to comfort me and told me they would do whatever they needed to do fix it.

My husband was in shock-this was the first time I think he realized the SERIOUS nature that diabetes can have on a person's body.


I know this is a long post, I apologize.

Anyway, I immediately called my Endo's office. It was on a holiday weekend so no one was available. I left frantic messages on all of their phones. Come the following Monday morning, they called FIRST thing-which I am so thankful for. I had spent my 3 day weekend in misery, depressed, scared, and hopeless. For Godsakes, I paint and am a photographer. I can't lose my eyesight..I did not sleep all weekend. I had severe panic attacks.

My nurse practitioner told me to call this particular eye institute at Vanderbilt here in Nashville. She told me that she would probaly be booked but give it a try. I'm no holy roller, but I had an appointment the very next day. I think God had a hand in that, because someone knew I was suffering.

It turns out, after I went to see this Retinal Specialist ( A God Send of a Medical Dr.) that I do indeed have only 2 spots of signs of "back ground retinopathy" in my right eye only. My left eye was clear. I cried with happy tears and so did my husband. The Dr. even had tears in her eyes!

So, with all of this said, basically high blood sugars that I had been experiencing over the past caused some damage. I had too many things going on at once, and I was neglecting my health. NOT ANYMORE! My health comes FIRST ALWAYS! She did tell me that there was a possibility that these two little spots could just go away on their own. She said that I was going to be A oK. She discussed a few more things with me and I will be going back to her in a year.

Ah...I feel better getting this off my chest.


I remember reading a somewhat similar post from Gina here: (I mention it because I always like linking back out t' Gina - and it is a great parallel story).

I don’t know if it is universal but I am pretty sure a LOT of us are very scared about anything happening to our vision and too many people have shared their “I know someone who…” stories with us – I am very glad to hear that things are on track.  I am glad to hear you reaffirming your focus on yourself, too –it is important!

Thank you for sharing this and keep the good news coming!



(i’m a sucker for a happy ending! <G>)



Hello Alayna!

I am so glad that you found out there was nothing overly serious going on with your eyesight.  I am a photographer and artist as well and know that it is a scary possibility that one day we will be.. having problems.

I remember when I started really paying attention to my diabetes (2 years ago now) and I went to the optometrist to get my yearly check up and prescription renewal if needed.  They did the photography of the eye test thingy.

1. the opto. told me I had this weird case of needed reading glasses while wearing contacts (can't remember the name) and I'm only 22.

2. He said I had some scar tissue in my eyes.  which made me panic... He said I had had some hemorraging - which caused scar tissue.

I haven't gone back since but I hope because of my tighter BGs since then that they are better and the problem has subsided.

I really do hope you are feeling better emotionally.


hey Alayna, that's a good story, I go into shock easily too, and I am scared to death of going blind.   31 years of diabetes has weakened the circulation in the back of my eyes.  I go to a retina specialist every 3 months, and for a angiogram  every 6 months.  The angiogram is a small injection of fluorescent dye, and then they take pictures of your retina with a black light camera.  It is the only way to tell what is happening back there.  also, I only go to the specialist, because a regular eye exam couldn't even come close to the level of detection at the retina specialist office.

We have to worry about 2 things, the growth of new blood vessels, and the subsequent bleeding of the new blood vessels because prolific retinopathy blood vessels are often weak and bleed.  It's the bleeding that causes blindness.

Coagulative laser is the most often used treatment, I have had 2 treatments of laser, it is a little uncomfortable (but what about treating diabetes ISNT uncomfortable).  I thank God (and engineering) that there is a laser, because there ins't any other way to stop bleeding before it occurs and does real damage.  They use the laser to both stop the growth and prevent the bleeding, it's a kind of a "spot welder".  For me, well I have mildly bad circulation, small aneurisms, puffy "spots" and 1 prolific growing blood vessel.  That's whay I go often, and get the angiogram.

I am gad to hear you went for an exam, but I urge you to ask the specialist for the angiogram, or get a 2nd opinion regarding waiting a year between appointments.  IMO, A good specialst has the camera, the laser and the technicians right in their office.

I have Retinopathy in both eyes. It started about 5 years ago when I became aware of blind spots. I kept missing the stop signs in my neighborhood. I went to an eye intitute in Miami and had MANY (I think Im up to about 2000 in each eye) laser shots in both eyes to cauterize the blood vessals. At work one day I kept seeing a "shadow" that eluded me. As I "watched"ealized it was a siloette of a blood hemmorage in my left eye. I left work and drove to the hospital, worried the whole 45 min drive that my right eye would go out.  They cauterized the bleed and it eventually went away...for a while. After a few months it blew and filled my whole vision with blood. I had to have surgery so they could drain the eye and cauterize the bleed again. Years later I had another surgery that replaced the lens in my left eye (that had cateracts caused by the previous surgery) with an artificial lens. FUN STUFF!  The antirior chaber of my eye ruptured during surgery and they "droped the old lens into the posterial chamber, causing them to have to schedual a second sugery to retrieve it. Its all been stable for about a year now.  My right eye is no worse for the wear, and my left seems to be slightly improved. Still waiting for cloning to become a reality though.



I always wish there were more and better treatments available but you have reminded me how many fantastic (nearly science-fiction) options are in use today.  You are extraordinary and quite inspiring – thank you for sharing your history and knowledge!





Several years ago I was in for my eye appointment and the eye Dr. looked into both eyes and stopped just minutes into the check up and said I need to see a specialist. Pretty scary. At the specialists office they gave me a piece of paper that had a grid on it. In my right eye everything was fine, my left eye the grid was all distorted. Both my eyes were not getting enough oxygen so they were growing blood vessels to supply more oxygen. In my left eye, some of the vessels grew into my retina and had started to pull on it. They did several laser surgeries to kill the vessels and basically burn holes in the parts of the retina that you don't really use to allow oxygen from the layer just under the retina to get into the eye since there is more than enough oxygen there. I lost a little of my peripheral vision, but not much. Better than going blind. I do have to go in every 6 months and get pictures and check ups. They only did half of each eye and the doctor said eventually I'd probably need the other half done also.

Scary but a relief that the technology is there. Especially when you consider how "sensitive" my eyes were before all this started.

Hi, I have had a subscription to Diabetes Forecast since I was diagnosed 32 years ago.   There is a lot of great up to date info, recipes, &(myfavorite)personal stories. 

I would say Diabetes forecast as well.