Up until one and half years ago I never had any serious problems with my eyes due to my diabetes. I could see everything well. I have had near sightedness for over five years, and I recently started using low power reading glasses. But my problem this time was different. I started seeing black fibers floating in my eyes. I could see bubbles forming in my left eye. It's like a bunch of soap suds floating in the air. I was worried about the black fibers a lot and once I noticed them I started being aware of them all the time. There were more noticeable in the day time when I went out. I spent hours in the backyard each day trying to figure out what they were.
Finally, when it was time for me to get my yearly checkup with my ophthalmologist I put forth my fears in front of him. Never in the previous years was I told that I had any problem with my eyes. I had been very good in keeping my yearly check ups with all my doctors. After all the tests were done my eye doctor told me I was developing diabetic retinopathy. The black fibers as well as the bubbles I was seeing were initial stages of it. It scared me to death. I could see myself losing my eyesight. I am an avid reader and just the thought of losing my sight made me have chills down my spine.
I went on a more strict diet and exercise regimen in the following months. My hemoglobin A1c went down from 10.2 to 7.7 within a few months. Six months later I went back for a followup checkup and was told that my condition had improved quite a bit and I do not have to worry about more complications as long as I keep up with my control over diabetes. It is a constant struggle but I managed to keep it under control as much as I can.
For my last yearly eye check-up I went to another ophthalmologist because of insurance changes. I took all my health information to him including my eye condition. After all the tests were done he came up with good news that my eyes are fine except for a little speck of fiber which could be a protein floater. I was relieved and happy, all the time bearing in mind this is not over for me; it is a continuous process. I am aware that keeping my blood sugars constant and near close to normal is the only way I can avoid any future complications with not just my eye but many other diabetic complications.
Diabetic retinopathy is defined as a complication of diabetes resulting in damage to the blood vessels of the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). (mayoclinic.com). Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that causes no symptoms at first but as the time goes by becomes more severe with out of control blood sugar levels. The longer a person is diabetic the greater the chances of developing this condition. Yearly exams and tight control over diabetes play major role in preventing this condition.
The risk factors include:
a. poor control of blood sugar
b. high blood pressure
c. high cholesterol levels
e. people from Black or Hispanic communities are more prone to this condition.