A Clean Bill of (Eye) Health

I don’t exactly dread my diabetes screenings, but I can’t say that I look forward to them either. I feel like I am just waiting for the day that bad news will arrive, no matter how irrational or illogical that may sound.

I’m about two months overdue for my eye screening this year. I put it off because I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with uni back in June, which was largely a result of COVID. But I figured now that I’m well rested after a Winter study break, and while Western Australia is relatively safe and open, now is the time to get some of those things on the to do list done.

My endo would probably tell me that once every two years is enough based on my numbers and having only just exceeded 10 years with diabetes. But I force myself to make this an annual date, because it makes this appointment so much easier to approach.

I know that not a lot changes in 12, or in this case, 14 months.

I also know that if or when the bad news arrives, it will be picked up early enough that it will probably only be a very small change that will be easily treatable.

Not to mention that my local Specsavers will do the gold standard eye-dilation inspect the back of my eyes at my own convenience completely bulk billed under Medicare.

It also helps that I have an awesome optometrist who doesn’t make screening for a potential complication feel so daunting.

He’s got a history of diabetes in his family, but he hasn’t once made an assumption about me or my diabetes. I love how interested in diabetes he is, particularly my pump, and his questions show that genuine interest.

He’s all too familiar with retinopathy and other diabetes complications, as he pointed to images on the wall showing what those eye scans would look like in contrast to my healthy ones. He began telling me, not in any way to scare me, about a patient who had come in for an eye test only to find signs of damage to the eyes that were a result of undiagnosed diabetes.

‘How often would you have to give bad news to someone with diabetes?’ I asked.

Once a month. That’s once a month too many.’

I put my chin on the plate and leaned forward while he shone that warm white laser across my dilated pupils for my final test.

‘You can sit back, now. You’ve got a clean bill of eye health.’

If you need any more motivation to stay on top of your eye screenings, register for Diabetes Australia’s free eye check reminder tool, Keep Sight – www.keepsight.org.au.

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