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Visit to the Eye Doctor & Retinopathy


Tuesday, August 1, 2006


On the recommendation of my primary physician, I went to see the eye doctor.  I have read that blindness is one of the possible symptoms of diabetes.  I have noticed that my vision for reading small objects (even with my glasses on) has become a bit more difficult.


Last night, after work, I visited the doctor.  I first went in with the nurse/assistant who did two tests on my eyes, including that really annoying pressure test where they blow air directly into your eye.   I then went back into the waiting room for a few minutes until the doctor saw me.


He first asked me why I was there (I had just seen him in December for an annual checkup), then he nodded his head when I told him I have diabetes.  He ran through all of the normal testing and everything was fine and my prescription has not changed since the last visit (good, I did not need to buy new glasses).  He then said he needed to dilate my eyes for a special test – he said the reason my doctor probably sent me was to look to see if I have retinopathy.  This is when the blood vessels of your eye begin to be damaged [for more information, see the NIH.gov website].


I wear glasses.  I really do not like when anything comes near my eyes, let alone in it.  I never got contact lenses because I knew I would not be able to put it in my eye.  In order to do the test, he placed two different drops into each eye.  Yes, I tried to do my best, but I was still a big baby.  I can rappel down sheer cliffs (which I have not done for quite some time) or travel down white water with no problem, but this is a big issue with me.  As the eye doctor said, I am not a good patient.  After the drops were put in he asked me to wait for another 15 minutes for the drops to kick in.  As they did, my vision got a little blurry.


When it was time, the nurse took me into an examining room and I put my face into some type of mechanism that looks kind of like a camera and big set of binoculars.  She basically had me keep my eye wide open while taking a picture of it.  When the picture was taken, it emitted a very bright light.  She did my right eye first, then the second eye.  Of course, there was something wrong with the first picture, so she had to take a second picture of my left eye.


She then brought me back to the doctor, who looked at the picture, then with a penlight of his own, examined my eyes.  This was kind of annoying, since he was shining the light right into the eye. I have said it before, and I will probably say it again many more times - I really do not like going to the doctor – any doctor. 


The retinopathy test will now be a part of my regular checkup exam for the rest of my life—something to look forward to each year.  However, blindness scares me and I will keep on going back if it will sidetrack blindness of any kind or severity.


By the way – the retinopathy test turned out fine.


Next, I have to find and then make an appointment with a podiatrist.


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