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OIB-TAC Live Forum: Managing Diabetes with Vision Loss

Hand writing on dry erase board the word "diabetes"

Diabetes and Vision Loss

Consider taking our course Diabetes and Vision Impairment. Check out our news page for additional information on diabetes and vision loss. 

  1. Checklist for Vision Professionals working with Diabetics
  2. Diabetes and Vision Loss Resources
  3. Insulin Adaptive Devices
  4. How to get a Talking Glucometer
  5. Thumb Guide Method
  6. Insulin Cost-Saving Resources

Attendees participated in a conversation about diabetes for Diabetes Awareness Month on Monday, November 16. Individuals who are diabetic and are blind or who have low vision face a variety of daily challenges. From eating the right types of food to testing blood sugar, there are often many considerations that need to be addressed to help them maintain independence and remain healthy. Experts discussed the techniques and strategies that help us best serve these individuals. We had a lively discussion. If you wish to contact us, email info@oib-tac.org.

Kendra Farrow and Sylvia Stinson-Perez, both certified vision rehabilitation therapists, and Audrey Demmitt, registered nurse helped us discuss the topic of managing diabetes with vision loss.

Comments

Emily Damm's picture

Hello! Kendra would like to know what you find to be most challenging about serving individuals with diabetes and vision loss?
Audrey Demmitt's picture

Is it blood sugar testing? measuring insulin? teaching foot inspections? reading food labels?
Sylvia Perez's picture

Having worked with many clients with diabetes over the past 20 years, the major challenges I experienced were managing the medications safely and correctly (especially those required to take insulin); and of course the getting people to eat right.
Audrey Demmitt's picture

We have to remember it is primarily up to them and they have to take full responsibility for their self care... that being said, the eating plan is a bit less restrictive than before to encourage long term compliance. Encouraging to refresh their knowledge on line or with a nutritionist can help motivate them. Also encouraging the small step approach-small changes can have big effects
Audrey Demmitt's picture

this is one of the 7 self-care behaviors that are essential to blood sugar control. It is all about choosing healthy foods in the right amounts. there is really good information on all 7 self-behaviors on VisionAware.org under Diabetes guides.
Audrey Demmitt's picture

These guides are 7 lessons which could be done with the consumer or by the consumer alone. And they have audio versions. There are 3 guides-Diabetes the Basics, Diabetes and Vision loss, and one in Spanish
Kendra Farrow's picture

Diabetes Guides found on www.visionaware.org
Kendra Farrow's picture

If someone hasn't attended diabetic training in a while, they might attend another class. Things have changed a lot over the years and what has been learned about diet is evolving and may be different.
Audrey Demmitt's picture

Most insurances will pay for diabetes training refresher courses once a year. it truly is not a once and done kind of thing. you have to stay up with the latest developments because things do change. Consumers should ask their doctors for classes, read Diabetes Forecast online and check with American Diabetes Assoc. and Diabetes Self-Care magazine also on line for good sources of information.
Kendra Farrow's picture

https://visionaware.org/blog/visionaware-blog/healthy-eating-with-diabetes-part-3-in-a-series/
Kendra Farrow's picture

Do you have any specific strategies or adaptations that you have found useful in serving individuals with diabetes?
Audrey Demmitt's picture

it is really important that consumers work with a diabetes educator, vision rehab specialists and their doctors to figure out how to do their self-care tasks. Make sure everyone on your team understands what you can do and cannot due because of your vision loss. Can't find the slot to load a strip? Mark the slot with perm marker or a bump dot. Can't see to inspect your feet? use your phone with a selfie stick...take a photo and them zoom in to check a sore spot on your foot. Can't read your meter? You have to advocate for yourself to get a talking glucometer. The Doctor can fill out a medical necessity form due to vision loss. There are many adaptations that can be taught. Also having the right tools for their vision loss-magnifiers, lighting, contrast etc.
Kendra Farrow's picture

Share any resources that are available or educational opportunities that are upcoming on the topic of diabetic management.
Audrey Demmitt's picture

APH VisionAware has an upcoming webinar on Nov. 30th at 3pm EST on Monitoring Blood Sugar and using insulin. Go to the APH ConnectCenter to find it and register. You can also find a link in the slideshow on www.visionaware.org
Audrey Demmitt's picture

Here are the keys to good control of diabetes: Monitoring, Meals, Movement, and Medication. What area does your consumers need to work on to improve? Are they Monitoring blood sugars, weight, blood pressure? Do they have talking devices to do this? Are they following a meal plan that was recommended for them? Can they prepare healthy foods safely? Read food nutrition labels? Shop? Do they have food scarcity which affects the quality of their diet?
Audrey Demmitt's picture

Movement-do they need help adapting exercise routines or more O+M so they can walk for exercise? Exercise is an important way to control blood sugars but it must be done safely. medications- do they use an insulin pen correctly? are they able to read med labels and expiration dates on insulin bottles? Do they need a device to measure insulin accurately? Count-a-dose helps draw insulin into syringes accurately. Syringe magnifiers and pen magnifiers are available too.
Margaret E. Cleary 's picture

Article to be found in Vision Aware Margaret Cleary
Joanne L Stamp's picture

Checklist for Vision Professionals working with Diabetics link isn't working
Simon Marcy's picture

I have updated the link. Thank you for helping make our site better!
Joanne L Stamp's picture

That's great thanks! The site is invaluable to us at the Low Vision Program at the Center for Independence, Grand Junction CO. Thanks for all your work.
Simon Marcy's picture

Thank you so much for the kind words! We love what we do, and I am glad that you find our resources helpful.