Re: Proliferative Retinopathy

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Hi Stephen,

Yup been there… still am really. I had 4 burns in my left eye about 5 years ago and have been kept a close eye on since (pun obviously intended!)

Earlier this year (about July) I had a ‘routine’ check up. I had the scare of my life (well, apart from my diagnosis, though I never realised the significance of that at the time), when the consultant told me I had progressed strat to the Proliferative stage and needed in excess of 2 thousand burns in each eye as ‘a priority’. He tried to do some there and then but after about 200 in one eye I was in a significant amount of discomfort. (It was a bit like being repeatedly stabbed in the eye with a needle :( ) so he decided to admit me for day surgery and do it under general. He explained that there was a risk that I may lose some of my peripheral vision and that could mean losing my driving license. I was terrified to say the least!

The surgery bit I found extremely scary and not at all a pleasant experience, (is GA ever fun? I doubt it) but as it was under GA, it was all over pretty quick. I did find my vision was a bit affected (very sensitive to light) for about 2 days afterwards though.

I have been told that I am likely to require further burns in future and that tight control will certainly help but even this won’t rule it out. I now have a pump and hope this will help me get some of that elusive ‘tight control’.

On a positive note, I was back at the clinic last week and the consultant is very pleased that my right eye is stable (with vessel growth receding) and while the left eye isn’t quite as good, the changes are minimal and not anything that requires further surgery at this stage. Got to go back again in 3 months.

Since July I’ve found out that a colleague who is also diabetic, has had far more surgery, including 2 vitrectomy’s, and while that’s never ‘nice’, she is still able to drive and work and do all other ‘normal ‘ seeing things. She firmly believes that having a pump for the last 10 years, which has really improved her control, has really helped prevent her retinopathy deteriorating as quickly as it might have without it.

Sorry, I’m turning this into an evangelical pump rant! What I mean really is, I was terrified by it all and I completely appreciate where you’re at. I’m certainly not saying ‘Pah! It’s nothing’ – what I would say is, prepare for at least a fair amount of discomfort, but don’t do what I did and stress yourself out, assuming you will be blind tomorrow and your life will be over. Everyone is different and you need to talk to your ‘guy’ about exactly what to expect and any potential impact it will have on you and your life. And if you want to rant, wobble, stress, ask questions etc you’re in the right place.

Feel free to give me a shout if you like :)