Tag Archives: ophthalmologist

Eye Care as a Human Right.

I’ve alluded to this a lot, but since I’m probably the King of Burying the Lead, blogging edition, let me just share that I have a lot of doctor appointments to make and keep this year. A lot, covering so many things.

That includes seeing an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. My appointment was last week.

The news was all good, mostly… no glaucoma, no sign of retinopathy or macular degeneration. My prescription changed just a bit, but I needed new eyeglasses anyway, so I’m not complaining.

It sucks that I live in America, where I have to pay a fortune for health care, devices, and drugs. But it’s great that I’m one of the lucky ones in America with coverage good enough to allow me to get to the eye doctor every year.

That’s one of the things about medical insurance, and the fight to make health care less expensive here. If it’s less expensive, it’s naturally more affordable for more people, and that is way less expensive to the government and its citizens than just relying on emergency room care when things get really bad.

That’s true for eye care. It’s true for diabetes management. It’s true for someone with heart disease, and it’s true for those going through depression and a host of other psychological issues.

From a patient point of view, denying coverage, denying care, and denying affordable access to the drugs we need denies us our right to exist on the same plane as someone not living with a chronic condition. And when we do that, we’re not only acting in a shameful way toward our own fellow man, we’re collectively paying more for the privilege to do so.

I still have many more appointments left this year. They’re almost all like this one: designed to check out one part of my body or another so I can detect (hopefully) small problems before I might need to solve larger ones.

Don’t we all deserve the same opportunity?

Quantifying my eyesight.

I don’t talk about medical appointments much lately. After blogging for almost six years, how many times can I write about going to see the doctor?

My quarterly endocrinologist appointments, checking in with my primary doctor a couple of times each year (if I don’t get sick), maybe a podiatrist or dermatologist appointment now and then.

And… my yearly check-in with my ophthalmologist.

In less than a week, I will celebrate 27 years with Type 1 Diabetes. Every year, for 27 years, that meeting with the eye doc is the one I’m probably least prepared for.

Ask me about my diabetes? No problem! Ask me for data on glucose trends, or whether I’ve been in range lately, and I can knock it out of the park. I still have diabetes, but at least I can quantify it.

But eye visits are different. All I know is that my vision hasn’t been as good the past few months as it had been before that. My preparation for this appointment was basically to clean my glasses really well and hope for the best.

That’s my problem. I’m generally the guy who doesn’t want to worry about bad news until he actually hears it. But when you don’t really know what’s going on until you get there, every year hearing ”No sign of retinopathy”, while welcome, makes me think about how many more bullets I’ll be able to dodge until the diagnosis comes.

The flip side of all this is that if you worry, when you hear everything’s okay, you want to kick yourself for worrying so much. We can’t have it both ways. Or can we? This time, I was worrying a little, but carrying myself like it was no big deal. Fake it ‘til you make it, baby.

So it was a tremendous relief to hear “No cataracts, no glaucoma, no sign of retinopathy”. In the end, my real problem was that I worried too much.

I have a new prescription. I’ll probably get new frames this year too. I’ll also try to remember to take better care of the body I’ve got, eyes included. And if I can, I’ll work on worrying less, and using the gift of eyesight to see things clearer than ever before.

Yes… I actually did see the eye doctor.

That’s the message I can finally give my endocrinologist when she asks me in January. I needed to find a new ophthalmologist since I had reservations about the doctor I had been seeing before. No major complaints, but I felt that he just wasn’t thorough enough in examining my eyes. And when you’re talking about the eyes of someone who has lived 25 years with Type 1 diabetes, thorough is what you want.

So I moved on. I found a new ophthalmologist, in my neighborhood which is a plus, and I went to see him last week.

Verdict? I’m not so excited about the ophthalmologist, though he’s not bad. He doesn’t know the first thing about diabetes beyond asking “how are your numbers?”. Despite that, I think we started on good footing. I felt he was listening to me. And I really like his assistant, who seems to know a lot and has some grasp of diabetes too. She’s one of those assistants who seems to do all the work, then turns it over to the doctor to gild the lily, whatever that means.
At the end, I wound up with a new prescription, which I hope will help me see stuff on the computer better. And most importantly, after a thorough exam, there were no signs of retinopathy, glaucoma, or cataracts. I’m good for another year.

It’s a good feeling. A good feeling to get good news from the eye doctor, and a good feeling to know that I’m finally taking care of some of that regular maintenance I’ve been putting off for a while. More to come…

I’m not saying this is a brand new me. I am saying that knowing what’s going on with my health beats worrying about what’s going on with my health anytime.

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