Managing Diabetes With Vision Loss

Managing diabetes is difficult enough – doing so with impaired vision may seem like a Herculean task. Fortunately, many tools are available to help you or your loved one monitor blood sugar levels and take the right medicine dosages.

Monitoring your blood sugar:
For those with moderate vision loss, monitors with large, easy-to-read screens are available. Some also come with colored lancing devices, making them easier to use. If you have total vision loss, you may need to ask a friend or family member for help in monitoring your blood sugar levels.

Managing your oral medications:
A pre-prepared pill organizer can be helpful if you take multiple medications daily. Pour out medications from the bottle over a large bowl, so as to catch any that miss your hand. If you have limited vision, color-code your pill bottles to make identifying different meds easier.

Non-visual insulin measurement:
Devices are available that make clicking noises with each unit of insulin loaded. Other insulin aids can be preset to load a set amount of insulin with each refill. Magnifiers that clip on to the insulin vial enlarge markings, making it easier to measure out the desired dosage.

Needle guides:
Needle guides are plastic caps that clip on to the top of the vial, directing the tip of the needle into the vial. Rubber disks that attach to the vial just below the cap help prevent accidental needle sticks. Needle guides over the injection sites and injection site magnifiers can help complete the process.

Audio assistance:
Some manufacturers make insulin pumps with audio bolus features. Glucose monitors with voice assistance and prescription readers are also available, though limited in their capabilities.

Speak with a Certified Diabetes Educator about the devices and technologies that could be beneficial to you.

Chapman B. (2001). Coping With Vision Loss. CA: Hunter House.

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by Brenda Bell
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