Diabetes Self-Management Blog

“Patient is a healthy 36-year-old male with Type 1 diabetes. At this time, patient shows no signs of diabetic retinopathy.”

Those are good words to hear. And those words, more or less, are what I’ve heard near the conclusion of my annual visits to the ophthalmologist, at that point in the examination when the doctor dictates into his recorder for his transcriptionist. Maybe it doesn’t work this way in your eye-doctor world, but in mine, the doctor takes care of all of his business concerning me before either of us leaves the room and we go our separate ways.

Yet would you believe me if I told you that I wish they’d find something wrong with my eyes? Honestly. Yes, I wish they could find something wrong with my eyes. It doesn’t need to be diabetes-related, and it wouldn’t have to be one of those awful, nonreversible eye conditions.

But something? Please? These doctors of mine, in all of their eye specialties and experience, are some of the best in the country, and they can’t find anything wrong! And I’d like to know whatever it is that’s going on with my eyes. At night. When I drive.

I’m a healthy 36-year-old male who feels like an unhealthy 70-year-old male when I drive at night. I get this streaking effect from any light source in my field of vision — streetlights, business lights, oncoming car lights, brake lights…any light source — that makes night driving an exhausting, unpleasant experience. It’s been ongoing for almost two years now, and because I don’t have much cause to drive at night, it’s an annoyance but not debilitating, and, honestly, something I don’t think about until it’s 10 PM, and we’ve been visiting friends, and it’s time to go home, and I have thirty minutes to spend on the road trying, to no avail, to rub my eyes to clear things up; to continually widen my eyes to see if that helps; to pull over and put in some eye drops to see if that won’t help the problem.

When I saw my ophthalmologist in February, he told me that there wasn’t anything wrong. When we discussed my night-vision problem, he speculated that it may be dryness, and that because I was seeing him at 10 in the morning, he would recommend some eye drops.

After the drops didn’t work, I called back and asked the clinic if I should see someone else, or if I should revisit my ophthalmologist, but that this wasn’t right; I shouldn’t be living like this. The doctor recommended another doctor in the eye center’s cornea clinic. Last Friday I spent three hours in the cornea clinic, my eyes being put through a battery of tests that left me with a headache and eye strain.

And the verdict? There isn’t anything wrong.

Yes, it’s true. And no, dear readers, it’s not psychosomatic: I’m not trying for some bizarre reason to avoid driving at night. And I’m not creating maladies where none exist (believe me, I have enough real health issues).

So what is it?

The specialist I met with last Friday told me that she doesn’t doubt there’s something wrong, but that there are so many unknowns with eyes that they can’t pinpoint it. She suspects that my pupils may be overdilating at night. Not in any large amount, nothing really measurable, but just enough to let in more light than is needed, thus causing the streaks when the light refracts off of my lenses.

Everything in our eyes is so sensitive that any little thing can cause them to malfunction, however slightly. We spoke about what might have caused this, but in short, it’s not possible to know.

The conclusion? She prescribed some drops that are actually for sufferers of glaucoma (the prescription will be filled today or tomorrow, so I don’t yet know if they’ll work). Not because I have glaucoma. No! It’s because one of the side effects of using these drops is that they cause the pupils to constrict after about thirty minutes. So I’m to try these drops about thirty minutes prior to night driving and see if that helps. If not, I do have a follow-up with the cornea specialist in mid-June.

Have I mentioned this before? Yes, I have: It’s always something!

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Eyes & Vision
Focus on This: May Is Healthy Vision Month (05/14/13)
Drug Improves Vision in Diabetic Retinopathy (11/30/12)
Diabetes and Your Eyes — More Than Retinopathy (05/24/13)
FDA Approves Drug for Diabetes-Related Vision Loss (08/24/12)

 

 

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