Although insulin pens are manufactured by a number of companies and have been on the market since the 1980s, Williams found no research literature available that supported the disclaimer that blind people cannot accurately use the insulin pens when they receive complete instructions in a format they can use.
In 2008, the National Federation for the Blind passed a resolution calling for removal of the disclaimer against the use by blind people.
"This resolution emphasized the realworld importance of rigorous investigation of the accuracy of insulin dosage by visually impaired people using non-visual techniques," Williams reported.
As a diabetes educator, Williams knew visually impaired people were successfully using the pen with accuracy but needed the scientific research to support her observations.
During the 2009 National Federation for the Blind meeting in Detroit, Williams recruited 30 individuals who have vision problems that prevent them from reading printed instructions. They were given complete recorded instructions. She also enrolled 30 individuals from Cleveland, Ohio, who could see and read the pen's directions.
Each participant first read instructions or listened to an audiotape about how to use the insulin pen. The instructions were essentially the same as those included on printed sheets in the insulin pen packaging, modified slightly to include tactile methods for using the pens. Then each participant measured out 10 doses of insulin and injected them into a rubber ball. The ball was weighed immediately before and after the insulin injections for dosage accuracy.
Generally there was little difference between the two groups in the accuracy of 600 dosages of insulinalthough Williams reports the visually impaired group did slightly better.
For people with sight problems, measuring and administering insulin presents challenges, since most tools and techniques wer
|Contact: Susan Griffith|
Case Western Reserve University