Eye appointments + diabetes = every twelve months.
Every year, for the past (almost) ten years, I have been going to see an ophthalmologist to have my eyes examined. I shuffle from room to room, going from test to test, having my pupils dilated to the extreme. I am usually the youngest person there - by at least 30 years.
I'm cool with that because I am all about prevention. I will dutifully sit through the eye dilating discomfort in order to catch problems early.
My ophthalmologist has just retired and I am due for my annual appointment. I asked my diabetes doc who I should be referred to and she told me I could go see any eye doctor I wanted to see. According to her, they do all the same tests. They just can't deal with diabetes complications so, if I develop any, they will refer me to an ophthalmologist.
Let me back up another decade. Ten years ago (almost), I developed type one diabetes. Ten years before that, I was in a really bad car accident. Several parts of me got pretty messed up for a while and one of them was my eyes. So I was referred to an ophthalmologist whom I saw regularly until he retired...not long before I developed diabetes. Basically, I've always gone to a specialist for my eyes for one reason or another and have never gone to a regular eye doctor. What are they called anyway? Opticians?? Optometrists?
Yesterday, I called a local eye doctor based on a recommendation. "Are you taking new patients?" I asked. "Yes we are" I was told. "I should probably tell you that I have type 1 diabetes" I said. "Oh that's fine, we have lots of patients with diabetes" she replied. "Ok, so what happens now?" I asked. "Well, get your doctor to write you a note saying that you have diabetes and then we can bill OHIP directly for your appointments. Shall we book for July 30th?"
I called my doctor and they are going to fax over a letter next week confirming my diagnosis. I asked if I could just show them my insulin pump but apparently that's not proof enough. Perhaps feeding me lots of candy and then testing my blood glucose would work??
If the letter goes through next week as promised, it looks like I have a new eye doctor. A regular eye doctor. The kind that everyone goes to see.
It feels weird after spending so many years seeing specialists to just go to a regular doctor.
I'm just going to be one of the crowd. Another set of eyes to check out.
On a kinda exciting but I'm not yet sure how I feel about it note, I'm going to ask about contact lenses at my first appointment. I have NEVER tried them before but I'm finding that I'm getting more and more frustrated with wanting to wear protective sunglasses and not being able to see without prescription lenses. So I'm going to ask about contacts and try them out. I expect long hours spent at the mirror trying to get the damn things in and out but my easily freaked out little sis says that, after a few tries, it's no big deal.
We'll see about that...