Diabetes and Blindness – What are the Connections?

Kelly Ragin

Kelly Ragin, Feature Writer

Feature Writer: Kelly Ragin

Did you know that in some cases, Diabetes could cause blindness?  This  condition is called Retinopathy.  Also referred to as Diabetes Blindness.  Diabetes is a very serious disease all by itself.  However, when not properly treated it could lead to various debilitating medical and health issues.  Blindness is one of them. A very serious matter, indeed.

In the African American community, Diabetes is ranked very high on the medical charts.  However, so many African American families disregard the severity of the effects of this horrible disease.

DESIRE HEALTH has been privileged to gain the insight from Dr. Jason Blowe, an Optometrist out of Atlanta, (Lawrenceville) Georgia.  Below he gives us some very important and vital information that we hope you will use, learn the facts and share with others in your family and community.


Contributing Source: Dr. Jason Blowe, OD

Take care of your health…and your eyes PLEASE!!   Eye care is vital.  Below are some fun quotes that express sentiments of OUR EYES.  Enjoy!

 “The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”
Meister Eckhart, Sermons of Meister Eckhart

“I like you; your eyes are full of language.”
[Letter to Anne Clarke, July 3, 1964.]”

 “True love doesn’t need proof.
The eyes told what heart felt.”
Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”
Martin Buber

“Almost nothing need be said when you have eyes.”
Tarjei Vesaas, The Boat in the Evening

“The Artist always has the masters in his eyes.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If my eyes have pain, I close them; If my body aches, I rest it; If my heart breaks, I mend it; If my soul is lost, I pray for it”
Jeremy Aldana

What is Retinopathy?

Dr. Jason Blowe explains…………

Dr. Jason Blowe has over 19 years of optical experience. Born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi, attended Alcorn State University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern Mississippi.

 Dr. Blowe earned his Doctor of Optometry degree from the prestigious Illinois College of Optometry where he was also recognized with several honors.  He has acquired extensive clinical and management experience from externships through Davis Eye Associates in Winston-Salem, NC; Illinois Eye Institute in Chicago; OMNI Eye Services in Atlanta; Dr. Steinmetz and Associates in Naperville, IL; and the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center in Alabama. He has performed and presented research on Dry Eye Syndrome to the American Academy of Optometry.

 As an active member of the optometric community, Dr. Blowe is the past president of the Georgia Chapter of the National Optometric Association, and a member of both the American Optometric Association and Georgia Optometric Association and a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He currently resides with his wife in Gwinnett County. In his free time, Dr. Blowe enjoys cooking, listening to good music, and spending time outdoors.

Diabetic Retinopathy or Diabetic Eye Disease occurs in people who have diabetes. A person who has long periods of uncontrolled blood sugar or who has controlled diabetes for longer than 20 years is at higher risk for diabetic retinopathy. Over time diabetes damages the blood vessels of the retina (the tissue that lines the back of the eye which allows us to see). When these blood vessels are damaged, they leak blood and other fluids similar to a leaking water hose. The retina also begins to swell, causes symptoms such as blurred vision, seeing spots or floaters, and difficulty seeing at night. If diabetic retinopathy is not treated, a person can go blind. Actually, diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States.

People who can control their blood sugar will prevent the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy. In some cases, a person may need laser treatment to stop the leaking of blood vessels and to discourage other blood from leaking. In more severe cases, an individual may need to have the vitreous (the jelly-like substance inside the eye) removed and replaced. A person may also suffer from a retinal detachment, which is when the retina separates from the back of the eye. A retinal detachment can be surgically repaired as well.

I recommend that anyone with diabetes have a dilated eye exam once a year to monitor the risk and onset of diabetic retinopathy. It may be hard to tell if you have diabetic retinopathy in early stages because the disease gives little to no symptoms early on.

Dr. Blowe’s ADVICE:

“The best prevention tip I would give to persons with diabetes is watch your diet, exercise, and follow your endocrinologist’s instructions.”



3153 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 201
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
Phone: 770-682-6525