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[IP] I can see, but the eye doctor can't.

Hello all.

I had an experience the other day that really rubbed me the wrong way, and I'd like
some perspective from you.  I saw a new ophthalmologist this week for my annual
visit, because my current insurance will not cover my regular guy.  This new doctor
seemed o.k. at first.  His exam was very thorough, and he seemed knowledgeable.
After the exam, which was completely normal, he asked me how my control was.  I
gave him my latest A1C result, which was in the non-diabetic range, and told him
that was a typical A1C for me.  And here is what he told me:  "For now, your exam
looks good.  But you will eventually get retinopathy.  It may happen next week, or
it may happen 10 years from now, but it will happen."  I wanted to smack his face.

He went on from there, extolling the wonders of laser treatments, but I really
didn't hear much of what he said.  While he was busy telling me about all the great
treatments, he was unwilling to acknowledge that I might not need them.  I told him
I was uncomfortable with his prediction, that it is really impossible to say now
what will happen to diabetics with no changes in their eyes, who have access to
increasingly fine-tuned treatments and new technology.  He refused to acknowledge
that possibility, saying something along the lines of, "Well, I've been in the
business a long time, and I know what I'm talking about (you lowly patient)." He
started talking about "a study that came out a few years ago" (the DCCT, in which I
participated) that found that the risk and severity of retinopathy could be
minimized, but not stopped.  I reminded him that the DCCT also showed that early
changes in the eye could sometimes be reversed with tightened control.

So. . . what do you guys think of this??  Some of you may think I'm in denial, that
I don't believe that retinopathy could possibly affect me.  Not true.  I know the
statistics, and I have a much greater chance of developing it than of not
developing it.  With 14 years "in", it could come at any time, even with good
control.  But I refuse to believe that it is a given for all diabetics.  We know
that many people haven't developed retinopathy, even after years of haphazard
control based on urine testing and guesstimated insulin dosages.  My
endocrinologists, CDE, and other opthalmologists have NEVER told me that
retinopathy is a given.  And just as I need to know the facts about it, I also need
to know that there is hope for the future.  I know that I will probably develop
retinopathy, that there are good treatments for it, and that it will not be the end
of the world when/if it happens.  But I'm holding on to optimism, and I expect my
medical team to do the same.  My first visit with this ophthalmologist will also be
my last.


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