Introduction to Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy

Being diagnosed with diabetes triggers a whirlwind of emotions and concerns about its lifelong impact, not just for you but also for your family. It’s a complex condition requiring serious attention, but talking openly with your doctor, family, and friends is key to understanding and managing it effectively.

While there’s no cure, managing diabetes involves learning to navigate its day-to-day effects by understanding what helps and what doesn’t. Self-help plays a pivotal role in reducing its impact, emphasizing the importance of education and proactive management. Diabetic retinopathy, a complication damaging retina blood vessels, can cause vision issues, but early detection, ongoing treatment, and specialized services can empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives despite these challenges.


New to diabetes and vision loss? Be sure to read our A Guide for Managing Diabetes with Vision Loss – ConnectCenter ( and Tips for Managing Diabetes with Blindness/Low Vision – ConnectCenter (

You may also want to check out our Getting Started Kit for help with living with blindness or low vision.

Hand holding a heartshape bowel of different vegetables.

What Is Diabetes?

Definitions of Diabetes Diabetes is: Diabetes mellitus (usually referred to as diabetes) is a chronic carbohydrate metabolism disorder resulting from inadequate production or utilization of the hormone insulin. When a person has diabetes, their pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or their body can’t use it effectively. Diabetes is an illness that makes it hard […]

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Diabetic Eye Disease: Diagnosis, Causes, and Symptoms

Diagnosing Diabetic Eye Disease Diabetic retinopathy usually has no early warning signs. It can be detected only through a comprehensive eye examination that looks for early signs of the disease, including: To diagnose diabetic eye disease effectively, eye care specialists recommend a comprehensive diabetic eye examination that includes the following procedures: The first image below […]

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What Treatments Are Available for Diabetic Eye Disease?

Importance of Controlling Your Diabetes The best way to treat your diabetic retinopathy is to control your diabetes and follow up with your scheduled eye exams. If you have mild or moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, you may not need any medical treatment. However, you may be encouraged to keep good blood sugar control. You can […]

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How Can I Manage My Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that requires 24-hour, 7-day-a-week self-management. It is YOU who lives with your diabetes, and it is YOU who will make your healthcare decisions in consultation with your doctor or other healthcare team members. Blindness or low vision may present challenges but aren’t necessarily barriers to effective and successful self-management of diabetes.  […]

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How Blood Glucose Levels Relate to Diabetes and the Importance of the A1c Blood Test

Research has shown that maintaining blood glucose levels within an acceptable range can lower and delay your risk for complications. You and your physician must decide what blood glucose levels are achievable for you based on your age, abilities, medical status, personal needs, and any other special circumstances. The currently acceptable blood glucose target ranges […]

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What Is the Difference Between Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia?

What Is Hyperglycemia? In relation to diabetes, hyperglycemia refers to chronically high blood glucose levels. Most medical professionals define hyperglycemia by using the blood glucose goals that you and your physician have established and combining those goals with the blood glucose target ranges set by the American Diabetes Association. It’s important to understand that you’ll probably experience high blood glucose levels […]

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Diabetes Medications and Devices

Why Diabetes Medications? The cornerstone of diabetes management is keeping blood sugar levels under control (80 -130 mg/dcl) to help prevent complications of diabetes. In addition to healthy eating, stress management, and physical activity, diabetes medications are another way to help manage blood sugar levels. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body no longer […]

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Coping with Loss as a Result of Diabetes and Blindness/ Low Vision

By Margaret E. Cleary, M.S., R.N., CVRT Thomas J. Carroll’s book, Blindness, describes twenty different losses and restorations that a person may experience when low vision or blindness occurs. He said he wrote this book as a practical guide for the “adventitious, noncongenital, or newly blinded” and those who work with them. Blindness advocates, skeptics, […]

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