I've been seeing my opthamologist for as long as I've been diabetic. As soon as I showed any indication of retinopathy, which happened around 5 years ago now, he started using the more elaborate procedures to check the progression.
I started getting the angiograms using the florescent dye, and the OCR scan to check the vessels underneath the retina.
Those are just much more in depth and complete examinations that reveal a lot of subtle, and not so subtle, changes in the condition of the eye that juts can't be picked up with a visual examination after dilation, or even photographs alone.
Retinopathy is very scary and I worry about losing my sight eventually because of my own retinopathy and DME. My A1c has been under 6 for as long as I've had retinopathy but the retinopathy is stubborn. It simply has not resolved itself, even with extremely tight control. Still, I'd rather have more information about my condition than less. As my own opthomologist admits to, he's much more conservative than most and began aggressive screening ASAP. There are any number of treatments available today. Thankfully, my condition has not progressed to the poin of needing any of them, but my doctor and I stay vigilant. I take nothing for granted.