If you had to come up with a theme for David Kogelmann's life so far it could be summed up in one word: "maintenance." Kogelmann, 63, of Greendale, is a retired heavy duty maintenance mechanic who rebuilt printing presses for Quad Graphics for 20 years. He is also an auto show buff who meticulously maintains a 1967 Pontiac Firebird and an avid sharpshooter who maintains precision firearms. More recently, however, Kogelmann's focus has broadened to maintaining something even more precious—his vision.
Diagnosed with diabetes in 1995, Kogelmann was diligent in sustaining proper blood sugars levels. His primary care doctor, however, reminded him of the importance of having his eyes checked for any diabetes-related changes to the retina that can go unnoticed at first. As an expert marksman and long-time member of the Schultz Rod & Gun Club on Big Muskego Lake, Kogel-mann knew the importance of finding an eye care specialist who shared his exacting attitude. His research led him to an appointment with Dr. Daniel Ferguson, a highly regarded ophthalmologist who also holds a degree and several patents in engineering.
"Because of Mr. Kogelmann's vigilance in maintaining proper blood sugar levels, he was fortunate enough to still be enjoying good vision in both eyes when he first came to us," notes Ferguson, a partner at Eye Care Specialists who sees patients at offices in Wauwatosa, West Allis, and downtown Milwaukee. "As happens, for most diabetics, however, the longer you have the disease, the more likely it is to take its toll, and by 2010, Mr. Kogelmann's vision began to slip a little." As a result, Ferguson recommended Avastin injection treatment to stave off further diabetes-related damage to Kogelmann's retina.
"At first, I thought, 'you're going to stick a what in my eye'?" Kogelmann exclaims with a laugh. "But, the treatment really wasn't bad at all. I've had cataract surgery too and that was so easy—no pain, just great!" In fact, with regular appointments and Avastin treatments, Kogelmann sports vision good enough to keep up with his hobbies. He proudly reports, "I've been doing more sharp-shooting than ever. When you go to the club, you always have to have two people on the range. I have people calling me all the time to shoot with them." Kogelmann also enjoys spending time up north at his cabin and 120 acres of land in Ladysmith, WI. "I don't hunt much anymore," he states, "but I cook for my son and the guys up there. . . . They call me 'Pot Banger' because I do all the cooking, and I wake them up by banging my pots!"
Kogelmann also has a wake-up call for fellow diabetics to preserve their vision: "See an ophthalmologist regularly and keep your blood sugar under control!"
FREE Booklets & Information
Eye Care Specialists’ doctors are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and macular degeneration. They frequently lecture to the public and fellow physicians and have written their own series of booklets on these conditions. Call 414-321-7035 for FREE copies or to schedule an appointment for a thorough eye screening (usually covered by insurance or Medicare) at their offices on 7th & Wisconsin Avenue, Mayfair Road across from the mall, or 102nd & National. They also offer information at www.eyecarespecialists.net.
Tips for Protecting Against Diabetes-Related Vision Loss
Diabetes is being diagnosed in huge numbers across all ages and races. Saturated fats, simple sugars, super-sized portions, bulging waistlines, and lack of exercise are some of the known culprits. Whatever the causes, the increased incidence of diabetes means a corresponding increase in health problems related to the disease, including the sight-robbing complication of "diabetic retinopathy"—the leading cause of new cases of blindness in America. Eye care specialists are fighting the battle to protect vision through education and the use of lasers and new medication injection treatments. Wisconsin Diabetes Advisory Group member and medical optometrist Dr. David Scheidt encourages patients to also take non-invasive steps of their own to prevent diabetic vision loss, including:
* Have a blood sugar test every three years after age 45 to screen for diabetes
* Keep blood glucose levels close to normal through diet, medication and exercise
* Keep blood pressure under control
* Don’t smoke
* Keep cholesterol levels low
* Check hemoglobin A1c levels at least every four months and aim for less than 7.0
* Schedule dilated eye exams once a year, or as often as your Eye M.D. suggests
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