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Protecting Your Sight From Diabetes

09/08/2011

  • Narrator:

    Surveyor Henry Bryan has been living with type 2 diabetes for nearly 40 years.

  • Henry Bryan:

    My eyes have meant all the world to me in my chosen profession.

  • Narrator:

    Henry nearly lost vision in his right eye a few years ago. He had no symptoms, no warning signs before his regular checkup.

  • Henry Bryan:

    And they started looking in my right eye again and I thought, "What’s going on?" And all of a sudden, "We’ve got to do laser surgery." And I said, "Now?! Right now?!" And they ended up putting in over 1,200 hits in my right eye to cauterize blood vessels.

  • Narrator:

    Henry’s story illustrates the importance of a yearly dilated eye exam for anyone with diabetes, type 1 or type 2.

  • Timothy W. Olsen, MD:

    Having that form of screening in place can prevent you from going blind.

  • Narrator:

    Ironically, Henry’s scare came at a time when he was in excellent control of his blood sugars, one of the best ways to avoid damage to the small circulatory vessels in the eye.

  • Henry Bryan:

    Apparently some of these things had been set in motion because of lack of control much earlier in my life.

  • Timothy W. Olsen, MD:

    He had a phase in his life where his blood sugars may have not been under such great control.

  • Henry Bryan:

    I was used to all the fried foods and the sweets and different things and so it was hard.

  • Timothy W. Olsen, MD:

    And that’s almost typical for most diabetics is they’ll go through a very stormy phase where they get a lot of activities in their eye, and during that phase we usually are pretty aggressive about treating it, and then the storm passes and things quiet down, they get better control of their blood glucose levels, they learn how to manage their diabetes, they take things a little more seriously.

  • Narrator:

    Today Henry has 20/20 vision again.  

  • Timothy W. Olsen, MD:

    He has excellent control of his blood sugars, his retinopathy is completely regressed. As long as he continues on that pathway he’ll do fine. And he will retain excellent vision for the rest of his life in all likelihood.

  • Henry Bryan:

    Looking back, yes, I’m very thankful that they found it that day, they were able to do it that day and all, I’m very blessed.

  • Narrator:

    For WebMD, I’m Sandee LaMotte.