I finally got to an ophthalmologist today. It'd been a long time since my last eye exam anyway, but I also needed to get my eyes checked for retinopathy. Oh boy, and I thought eye exams were fun before! There's nothing more pleasant than having your pupils dilated as wide as possible and then having the world's brightest frakin' light shone directly into them!
And I learned another diabetes factoid: Diabetics' eyes dilate slower than those of non-diabetics. Huh!!! (It has to do with higher sugar in the irises, but he didn't explain any further.)
The second worst part of the exam wasn't even the eye drops. It was that he'd been saying "good" every time he looked in an eye... until he started looking at the retinas. At that point, he was silent... which I couldn't take as a good sign. (Honestly, I started getting a little scared at this point.) After shining that Brighter Than The Fraking Sun Light in every corner of my eyes, he grabbed his little standard light scope thing again and said, "I need to take another look at this one spot in your right eye." Um, GULP?! So I stayed quiet through some more shining, peering, and eye-watering until he stopped, flipped the lights back on, and said, "I see one little spot in your right eye from when your sugar was out of control that's going to heal up, but you essentially have no retinopathy." Then he started writing in my chart.
Ummmm, not a good enough explanation, Doc. "So, is this spot like the beginnings of retinopathy that's stopped now that my sugar is down?"
So he righted the situation by putting his pen down and actually explaining things. He described how retinopathy starts: Basically, your eye isn't getting enough oxygen and starts to grow new blood vessels in your retina to try and make up for that, but those vessels are fragile and tend to break or burst. That's when the real problems start, because blood in your eye and damage to your retina is bad. (mmmkayyy?)
(In fact, really bad retinopathy can even cause retinal detachment.)
"I can see a spot where there's damage from that lack of oxygen from when your blood sugar was out of control," he said. "It's like a tiny little scar, but it's going to get smaller and smaller. You don't need to worry, you just need to keep control of your blood sugar. And watch your blood pressure, too."
It immediately became my goal to get rid of that damned little spot. Next year, I want to hear him tell me my retinas look perfect.
And then I drove home wearing those cool, granny-sized, plastic "sunglass lenses" tucked behind my glasses. Yeah. SEXY.