Vision Health Tips for People with Diabetes
November 9, 2023
November is Diabetes Awareness Month
November 14 is World Diabetes Day
NEW YORK (November 8, 2023) — Improving health and avoiding diabetes-related complications is essential for millions of people in the United States who have diabetes. One of the most common and serious complications of diabetes is vision loss. Lighthouse Guild offers the following tips to help reduce risk and preserve eyesight.
Get regular physicals and eye exams. “The most important step is to have regular physical exams and comprehensive dilated eye examinations,” says Dr. Laura Sperazza, Director of Low Vision Services at Lighthouse Guild. “Diabetic eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, a serious eye disorder caused by damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye, often have no symptoms in the early stages. By regularly monitoring eye health, treatment can begin as soon as signs of disease appear, helping to prevent vision loss.”
Don’t delay. See an eye care professional immediately if there are any sudden changes in vision.
Think tech. Technology can help people with diabetes monitor their sugar levels in their blood if they are unable to use the traditional finger stick. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) allows levels to be monitored using sensors placed on the arm or the belly that collect data on a continuous basis. There are also implantable CGM sensors that can be placed under the skin in the upper arm by a physician. The sensor, known as Eversense, sends glucose data to a transmitter worn on the skin over the implant and then to the system’s mobile application via Bluetooth. While the finger stick remains the gold standard and the most accurate method for monitoring sugar levels, a combination of traditional and new methods can help people manage their diabetes in a more efficient and safe way. Talking meters that read sugar levels out loud can be particularly helpful for people with diabetes who have vision loss. Mobile medical apps can help with key components of diabetes self-management, helping with keeping track of insulin dosing, communication with caregivers, and collecting, organizing, and transmitting data to a health care team. In addition to new technologies and apps that can be installed on smart phones to help individuals manage diabetes, there are new treatments and methods of delivering insulin that are more user friendly. Everyone is different, so it is important that people with diabetes consult with their health care providers to determine the best plan for care for their individual situation.
Get support. Joining a diabetes support group in your area is a good way to learn from others and share experiences. Lighthouse Guild’s self-management diabetes education program in Manhattan, which is approved by the American Diabetes Association, offers individual and group sessions providing practical techniques for taking medications, strategies for monitoring blood sugar, and essential tips on making healthy lifestyle changes.
Lighthouse Guild provides exceptional services that inspire people who are visually impaired to attain their goals. Our podcast series, “On Tech & Vision with Dr. Cal Roberts,” offers information and insights about technological innovations that are tearing down barriers for people who are blind or visually impaired. For more information, visit Lighthouseguild.org.
Press Contact: Bryan Dotson, Manners Dotson Group