Thursday, August 13, 2009

How Not To Be Diagnosed: Part 2

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the more serious diabetic-related conditions. It can damage your eyesight and even cause blindness; which is pretty serious; on a list of worst outcomes of bad diabetes it would rank somewhere around leg amputation. Unlike leg amputation however, your eyesight deteriorating can be a sign of undiagnosed diabetes.
It’s an uncommon but not unheard of symptom and is caused by the excess sugar in your blood blocking up the blood vessels in your eyes. This can caught in time if an optician takes a picture of the back of your eyes since the sugar can be seen in that picture… but if you read my last post or even if you’ve read the title of this piece you may guess where I’m going with this. Yes, this was yet another one of the symptoms I had and yes, it wasn’t caught in time to stop my inevitable trip to ER.

It all started on a particular Thursday about two weeks before I was diagnosed. I woke up to find I had strangely developed near-sightedness overnight. I could easily see my hand and read books but couldn’t see anything clearly beyond about 20 feet, with all accompanying problems like seeing writing on a blackboard and the like. However, in my mind it was impossible to develop near-sightedness overnight so I ignored it, or blamed it on blurry morning eyes, but after a while it became quite hard to ignore. After a week I finally realized something was wrong with me so I ended up going to see the optician.

That should’ve solved everything. To be fair to the opticians, bad sight is a fairly uncommon symptom but they’re far more likely to know that than I am, and I also clearly remember telling them that diabetes runs in my family. Yet all the optician (who will remain nameless, not because I’m nice or anything but because I can’t actually remember the name) did was do some simple tests like reading letters and shining lights, conclude that I was near-sighted, sell me some expensive glasses and send me on my way. A few hectic days later, I was in the hospital, having no problem reading far off signs and seeing far off objects. My eyesight problems had cleared up when I got my levels under control.

After I got out of hospital I went to a different optician who explained about taking pictures of the back of the eye while showing me the back of my eye and pointing out what would have been seen when my eyesight was bad. She concluded by telling me that not only was my eyesight back to normal, it was actually above average. So everyone was happy, except my mum, who was still pissed off at the previous optician for their shoddy check-up and expensive glasses and now boycotts the place.

Nowadays I don’t have any eyesight problems but I check every so often that I can still see far off objects, just in case.