Local diabetic with vision loss pushing for improvements to insulin pumps

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Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of vision loss in Canada, he said.

“Several things can be done,” Hooey said. “I can’t see the screen, so I have no access (to information). Many of the features I’d like to use, I can’t — such as a carb counting ratio. I can’t even set the time or change it because of daylight savings time. Simple tasks like that others can do, but I can’t.

“There are warnings, but the beeps are all the same. It could be a low battery, my temperature could be off, but it’s just a guessing game for me at this point.”

IV tubing on the pump must be changed every three days, but that is not something he can do on his own, he said. He needs someone to help or at the very least guide him through FaceTime.

Hooey estimates he can only use about 11 per cent of the features available through insulin pumps due to his lack of vision.

“Imagine getting a new iPhone and you can only use 11 per cent of what it can actually do,” he said.

He and others struggling with many of the same issues participated in a recent online town hall hosted by CNIB where aside from struggling to secure insulin pump improvements for those with vision issues, there is also concern about unequal insulin pump affordability across Canada.

Some provinces such as Ontario cover the cost of pumps, while other places, such as Manitoba, diabetics must pay out-of-pocket and can reach up to $15,000, he said.

Standards and protocols need to be Canada-wide — and not decided by each provincial government, Hooey said.

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