For people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D), eye disease is a troubling reality—over 40 percent develop diabetic eye disease, sometimes resulting in blindness. But early detection and timely, appropriate treatment can reduce the risk of blindness and complications by over 95 percent.
Some of our JDRF staff members living with T1D have experienced eye disease. Below, they share their experiences with diabetic eye disease to help raise awareness about the importance of being proactive when it comes to vision health.
For years I had seen an ophthalmologist to check my eyes. During the pandemic, the office closed, and I had to search for a new one. I ended up making an appointment with a retinal specialist. This was 2021—I had just given birth in 2020. The retinal specialist told me something I never thought I would hear. He said, “You have retinopathy in both eyes, stronger in your left.” I never had signs of retinopathy before, or so I thought. He shared that pregnancy can cause retinopathy to progress. I told him how I happened in his office by chance, and he said that all people with T1D should see a retinal specialist. Most ophthalmologists don’t have the right machines to view the full eye.
A year later, I had laser, eye injections, and a Vitrectomy surgery. After my surgery, my new doctor said, “We changed the course of your retinopathy.” I’m not very old, but my age of diabetes is 30 years and the technology for most of my diabetic life wasn’t great. However, now technology and options are amazing for our eye health and diabetes altogether. This is all thanks to JDRF. Please go see a retinal specialist and let’s change the course of diabetic eye health together!