I had had symptoms of diabetes for about three months before I was diagnosed. Diabetes affects your body’s ability to absorb glucose–sugar in your blood. Your cells can’t eat the sugar, for a number of possible reasons, and so it stays around in your body. When I was diagnosed, my blood sugars were 10-20 times that of a non-diabetic, and I was promptly admitted to the hospital.
I was put on an insulin drip, which lowered my blood sugar, and given insulin to inject, which I’ve been doing for the past month. As I was leaving the hospital, a nurse told me–”Don’t go to an eye doctor for about three months. Your vision is going to be changing until then”
This seemed strange to me, so I looked it up once I got home. As it turns out, when your blood sugar is high, fluids all over your body have increased glucose. Injecting insulin allows your cells to absorb the glucose and bring your levels back down, except in a few places, the most notorious of which is the eye. Your aqueous humor, the fluid in your eyeball, is very slow to drop its glucose levels, and it can take up to three months for the glucose in your eye to go back to normal. During those three months, your eye ‘wants’ to see a lower glucose concentration in its fluid, so it takes in water to lower the concentration, and as a result, your eye swells.
This all seemed very academic until it happened to me. Do you know that scene in Spiderman where, the morning after he gets bitten by the radioactive spider, he puts on his glasses and everything’s blurry, and then takes them off and his vision is perfect? I normally have terrible vision–I’m very nearsighted. About two days after I got back from the hospital, I noticed I couldn’t focus on anything while I was wearing my glasses. Sometimes my focus would oscillate in and out wildly, but mostly it would just blur after a second or so of looking at something. I could feel it getting worse over the course of the day, until randomly, I took off my glasses. All of a sudden, I could see–not 20/20, but much better than I ever had since my eyes started to go bad when I was 8. I was blown away–I had become Spiderman!
It was a bit of a problem, though, because I couldn’t see well enough to drive or get around without my glasses, but my glasses prescription was much too strong–I estimate my vision improved by 50%. The US is not an easy or cheap place to get a new set of prescription glasses, especially if your vision is changing constantly, and any prescription you get will be outdated in a week or two. I started desperately looking through my family’s old glasses and finally happened upon a pair of my brother’s old glasses from years ago, scratched and smudged with the coating peeling off. They worked perfectly, and I wore them for about three weeks and my vision was perfect.
Just a few days ago, though, I noticed my vision starting to blur again. I tried an even weaker prescription, but that didn’t help at all. I tried my original pair of glasses, and miraculously, they worked perfectly again. It was almost exactly a month, and my vision ended up right where it started. While it’s nice to have my vision back to normal, it was wicked awesome to wake up one morning with supervision.