Back to discussions


Diabetes Self-Management for People with Visual Impairment and Blindness

Mar 14, 2016

Visual loss (low vision or blindness) commonly co-occurs with diabetes. Diabetes is well-known as a cause of visual loss from diabetic retinopathy. Increasing age is a risk factor for both diabetes and common causes of visual loss, e.g. macular degeneration. People who have visual loss from earlier in life, e.g., congenital blindness or accidents, are have increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

When people with diabetes have visual loss, many people assume they cannot perform tasks necessary for diabetes self-management. Yet tools and techniques exist for independent diabetes self-management by those with low vision or blindness, e.g., blood glucose monitoring and record-keeping, identification and management of medications, insulin measurement, measuring food portions, exercise, and foot self-examination. Furthermore, instructional materials can be made accessible through use of audio recordings and text-to-speech computer programs. Availability of such tools and techniques varies in different countries and different parts of the world.  

What tools and techniques are available in your country for people with vision loss to use for independent diabetes self-management?

Information about the discussion leader

The discussion will be moderated by Ann S. Williams, Research Associate Professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University.


  1. Williams A. Making diabetes education accessible for people with visual impairment. The Diabetes Educator, 2009 Jul-Aug; 35(4):612-621.
  2. American Foundation for the Blind, Diabetes and vision loss: A guide to caring for yourself when you have vision loss.