Diabetic Retinopathy and Low Vision

Diabetic Retinopathy and Low Vision in Chattanooga

Diabetes can affect vision in a condition called diabetic retinopathy which usually affects both eyes. Approximately 1 out of 3 people with diabetes develops diabetic retinopathy, making it one of the leading causes of vision loss worldwide. An excess of glucose can cause damage to the very small blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, known as the retina. This can lead to all sorts of changes in the eyes varying from unnoticeable symptoms to blindness. There are different stages of this disease varying from the early stages where one can be asymptomatic through the end stage that can cause severe vision loss. There are treatment plans which can slow down or even prevent vision loss if diagnosed early enough, however vision loss that has already occurred from diabetic retinopathy cannot be regained. 

If you are suffering from visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy and it seems as though the door has been shut on your ability to perform visual tasks, there is no need to despair. Low vision opens the door to a world of possibilities which incorporates your visual abilities that have not been lost in order to be able to enjoy your vision.

Amplify Eyecare Chattanooga

What to Expect at a Low Vision Eye Exam

Low vision is a field devoted to finding solutions despite a visual impairment that is creating obstacles in the way you live your day to day life. When you come to Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga for a low vision eye exam, Dr. Heather McBryar will do a special eye exam that evaluates your remaining vision, at a distance and from close up. Additionally, your field of vision will be evaluated and your contrast sensitivity will be checked, amongst other low vision tests. You will discuss together which visual tasks you are finding challenging and Dr. McBryar will then work with you to find solutions that will enable you to accomplish what you set out to do. 

There are a variety of visual aids that can be extremely useful to help you see despite your diabetic retinopathy diagnosis. If you have a family member or caretaker who is instrumental in helping you with your daily needs, it is highly recommended that they attend the appointment as well. It will give them the opportunity to learn more about your visual impairment so that they can understand how it impacts you functionally, enabling them to support you more effectively.

Visual Challenges Due to Diabetic Retinopathy

There are characteristic visual impairments caused by diabetic retinopathy which can be greatly helped with low vision, some include:

  • blurred vision
  • spots or lines floating in your visual field
  • decrease in color vision
  • blind spots
  • vision loss
  • Difficulty with night vision
  • Halos around lights

All of these visual challenges can make it very difficult for a person with diabetic retinopathy to function and accomplish tasks like they used to, prior to being diagnosed. The field of low vision offers many solutions and visual aids to allow a person with diabetic retinopathy reclaim their independence.

Visual Challenges Due to Diabetic Retinopathy
Low Vision Aids for Diabetic Retinopathy

Low Vision Aids for Diabetic Retinopathy

After the low vision eye exam, Dr. Heather McBryar will discuss various professional solutions with you catered to your individual needs and daily tasks or activities. The visual aids range from simple household products, to special glasses and electronic devices. There are so many possibilities of low vision aids that can help you increase your quality of life and some examples will be discussed here. 

There are many different types of magnifying glasses which can help with central vision loss, such as handheld, standing or spectacle form and they can assist you to zoom in on what you’re trying to read or work on. Telescopes of different kinds are available to help you zoom in on objects that are at a distance, such as the number on a bus approaching from a distance. Filters can improve vision for a person with diabetic retinopathy by increasing contrast sensitivity and reducing glare. E-scoop glasses are a wonderful low vision aid for early stages of visual impairment as it includes many optical features that can help you reclaim your independence despite the vision loss you are experiencing. A device called a CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) has been created to enable you to scan what you’re trying to read onto a screen. The CCTV enlarges the text and can provide various features, including increasing contrast between the text and the background. 

Low Vision Aids for Diabetic Retinopathy

There are companies that invented cutting edge technology which they’re constantly improving, each offering their own unique visual experience that enhances your vision. Some examples include OrCam, IrisVision or eSight, just to name a few. In addition to visual aids, simply adjusting the lighting in your home appropriately, under the guidance of a professional low vision optometrist, can really make an impact on how you see. There are also some simple assistive tools, such as placing rubbery adhesive bumps, known as tactile dots, on different flat buttons around your home to help you find the buttons easier. Dr. Heather McBryar will be happy to answer all of your questions and to find the best visual aids for you so that you can reclaim your independence and achieve what you set out to do, despite having a visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy.

Understanding Diabetic Retinopathy

In order to understand how low vision can change lives for the better after being diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, it is essential to understand this eye condition and to know what to look out for. 

Visual Challenges Due to Diabetic Retinopathy
Dr. McBryar cartoon


Diabetic retinopathy is a common eye disorder in which diabetes damages one's vision and it is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. If you have a visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy, we would be honored to work with you to find solutions and improve your quality of life with low vision care. Please call our office at (423) 710 3965 or click here to Book an Appointment for a low vision eye exam.

Related Articles


  • Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

    Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

    Amanda T.

  • Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

    Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

    Alexa H.

  • Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

    He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

    It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

    Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

    Charlotte M.

  • Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

    Thank you!

    Olivia C.

  • Seems much less frustrated with life

    Reads non-stop and fast

    Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

    Seems much more confident

    Thank You!!!

    Kelly O.



The 17 Key Visual Skills

A lot of people probably don't realize that there are over 17 visual skills that we use to interpret and understand the world around us. What we commonly associate as the standard for good vision, 20/20, is only one of these skills used to facilitate daily vision. These skills are critical to children in an […]

Read More

Impact of Vision

A child of school age has high visual demands, and when they are unable to meet these demands, they can face a variety of challenges, including challenges with self-esteem. It is not uncommon for these difficulties to be overlooked or misdiagnosed, but very often the underlying cause is a deficit in the child's visual system. […]

Read More

Can Vision Problems be Misdiagnosed as ADHD?

Could ADHD be misdiagnosed when in fact, an individual has an underlying vision problem instead? Is there a connection between ADHD and underlying vision problems? What are the common symptoms between ADHD and a vision issue? There is overlap between many of the inattention symptoms, but not as much among the impulsivity symptoms. Excessive movements, […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga Logo

Working Hours

Monday - Tuesday
7:30AM - 5:15PM

Wednesday - Thursday
8:00AM - 5:15PM

Friday - Sunday

1043 Executive Drive Suite #101 Hixson, TN 37343
(423) 710 3966
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
Cancellation Policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram