Call to make diabetes technology more sight loss accessible
Author: Andrew McClean
Making technology more accessible could help blind and partially sighted people better manage their diabetes, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
The sight loss charity reminded people of the importance of attending retinal screening appointments as part of its activity during Diabetes Week (June 14-20).
It also shared the story of Joanna Penn who has diabetic retinopathy and used a blood glucose monitor, as well as a flash glucose monitoring system to manage her diabetes.
She said: ‘There’s still a lot to be improved. I think the problem is because sight loss is a spectrum it’s about finding that middle ground and developing devices that work for both someone who has got quite a bit of sight or maybe central loss, and also for someone who is non-light perceptive.’
Penn was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2002 when she was 18 years old and was due to receive an insulin pump but was concerned about its accessibility.
‘An insulin pump can be quite fiddly to use. It may be easier for people who still have some sight like me to use one independently, but I think someone who is blind could struggle with it,’ she said.
The RNIB noted that routine retinal screening appointments for patients with diabetes were postponed during the pandemic but have now resumed in most areas.
Dr Louise Gow, specialist lead for eye health at the RNIB, said: ‘The most important thing you can do to prevent sight loss due to diabetic retinopathy is to go to your retinal screening appointments and eye examinations.’