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. There are steps that will help reduce risk and preserve eyesight. Lighthouse Guild offers the following tips:
Take control. “The most important step is to have regular physical exams with a physician and regular comprehensive dilated eye examinations with an ophthalmologist or optometrist,” says Dr. Calvin W. Roberts, President & CEO of 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 its 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 about technology. 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.
About Lighthouse Guild
Lighthouse Guild provides exceptional services that inspire people who are visually impaired to attain their goals, offering coordinated care for eye health, vision rehabilitation, technology, and behavioral health as well as related services. The Lighthouse Guild Technology Center provides people with vision loss access to the latest assistive devices and state-of-the-art technology. The Lighthouse Guild 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.