Dunwoody girl's eye exam was a lifesaver

Maya Peoples, 10, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after going in for a routine eye exam.
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Maya Peoples, 10, is a quick study.

"If my blood sugar is over 150, we do a correction," Maya told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie.

In just three weeks, she mastered the math and embraced the treatment for Type 1 diabetes.

"The shots are annoying," Maya said. "I can be mad all I want, but I have to take them."

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Maya's diagnosis was a stunner that started with a routine eye exam.

"In the exam, she had a larger hyperopic shift in her prescription," said Optometric Physician Dr. Kristin Bender of Bender EyeCare in Johns Creek.

Dr. Bender discovered an unusual change in Maya's vision.

"I had her father go out and immediately get a blood sugar check," she added.

 

Turns out, Maya was in diabetic shock and spent next three days in the emergency room at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

Photos | Girl's eye exam a lifesaver

"Then you go through the parent-thing of how did we miss this?" said Maya's father Jason.

"The weight loss we explained away by her growing an inch and a half," added Maya's mother Leslie. "The tired we explained away by the fact that we were at the lake and she was exhausted."

 

There is no family history of diabetes, but now Maya's treatment is a family affair.

Even her older brothers had to learn how to give her insulin shots.

In a matter of days, Maya's energy levels rebounded.

And she was grateful for Dr. Bender's sharp eye

"You literally saved her life," Maya's parents wrote in a letter to Dr. Bender. "We will forever be grateful."

 

Maya and her parents wanted to share her story to let other families know about the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes that they wish they had noticed earlier.

Here are some of the symptoms:

• Extreme weakness or tiredness.
• Unquenchable thirst.
• Increased urination.
• Irritability or quick mood changes.

The Georgia Optometric Association recommends yearly eye exams for school-age children to detect vision or health problems like diabetes.