DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

 

Patient Personal Stories:

Meet Ms Lim, A 44-year-old told she was going to lose her vision because of Diabetic Retinopathy. This is her story.

 

I’ve always believed in preventative health care. And as a person with Type 1 diabetes, I would see my doctors on and off for a thorough health exam during which pictures of my retina are taken by the technician. Even though I would normally receive good news, I always dreaded these check-ups.

About four years ago, during my usual examination, I watched my doctor’s smile fade when she looked into the retina pictures of my eyes. She said my eyes had been affected by diabetes and I would need treatment.She said she wanted to refer me to an eye specialist, as she sees something here that isn’t normal.

I was shocked.

For once in my life, I was unable to speak, shocked by what she had just said. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t understand what was going on.

After a few days, I found myself sitting in Dr Vanessa’s office. My name was called and she began a battery of tests, scans and exams. After it was done, Dr Vanessa looked at me and said, “You need immediate attention. Your chance of further loss of vision is very high. You need treatment NOW.”

I couldn’t believe it, mainly for the reason that I thought that my slightly blurry vision was due to ageing. Yet Dr Vanessa’s sense of urgency was clear, I was in big trouble. I absolutely had to accept the unacceptable, disregard my denial and do something quickly.

Dr Vanessa explained the treatment plan included lasers and injections. Really I said, injections in the eye? But I didn’t care what I had to do. In that moment, nothing, and I mean nothing could be as bad as going blind.

Treatment

What I found was, for me, the injections were very tolerable and fast. I honestly felt very little. The lasers were a bit more difficult, but again, endurable. Over a period of weeks, I had few treatments of laser and a couple of injections in each eye.

Finally the good news, on a follow-up visit, I was told that, for now, I was out of danger and that I didn’t need any further treatment at that time. I had dodged a huge bullet and I knew it. I felt so grateful.

If there is any takeaway at all from this, it is that I cannot stress enough the importance of getting your eyes examined on a regular basis. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you have no symptoms that everything is fine. Don’t let fear keep you from taking care of yourself. You owe it to yourself to stay ahead of your health, especially if you have diabetes.

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