American Diabetes Association Special Report

You may have heard that diabetes causes eye problems and may lead to blindness. People with diabetes do have a higher risk of blindness than people without diabetes. But most people who have diabetes have nothing more than minor eye disorders.

With regular checkups, you can keep minor problems minor (see the American Diabetes Association Eye Care page here). And if you do develop a major problem, there are treatments that often work well if you begin them right away.

The First Step
To understand what happens in eye disorders, it helps to understand how the eye works. The eye is a ball covered with a tough outer membrane. The covering in front is clear and curved. This curved area is the cornea, which focuses light while protecting the eye.

After light passes through the cornea, it travels through a space called the anterior chamber (which is filled with a protective fluid called the aqueous humor), through the pupil (which is a hole in the iris, the colored part of the eye), and then through a lens that performs more focusing. Finally, light passes through another fluid-filled chamber in the center of the eye (the vitreous) and strikes the back of the eye, the retina.

The retina records the images focused on it and converts those images into electrical signals, which the brain receives and decodes.

One part of the retina is specialized for seeing fine detail. This tiny area of extra-sharp vision is called the macula. Blood vessels in and behind the retina nourish the macula.

Follow Up
Protect yourself. Protect your sight. There are many additional aspects that need to be recognized and addressed in order to better understand possible symptoms and causes:

  • Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that may become blinding, which affects 5.8 million Americans, age 18 and older, and is the most common vision problem related to diabetes.
  • Diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma are all considered diabetic eye diseases.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans.
  • Almost one-third of the 29 million Americans over age 20, who have diabetes, don’t know they have the disease and that they are at risk for vision loss.

To read more insight by the American Diabetes Association, please click HERE.

Education is key. For more information, please visit the American Diabetes Association’s website: and the National Diabetic Education Association’s site here:


A Message from Lori Schermerhorn,
VRC President/CEO

As another school year has begun, we again ask where the time has gone. I am sure our previous leaders also felt that way. How quickly 85 years have flown by. Our address has changed, the client’s needs have changed, our mission has changed, and so has our name. The things that have stayed the same for all of these years have been our commitment to the Berks County community and our passion to help those struggling with blindness or visual impairment and their loved ones.

Whether an educational session, one on one counseling, support groups, lunch bunch, socialization programs, vision screenings, health fairs, home visits, Spanish speaking sight loss support group and counseling, workshop employment, summer camp, or referrals to other agencies, our commitment is strong and true. We continue to look for other ways to help our community and to expand our services to meet the changing needs.

To continue celebrating our 85th anniversary, we have several events planned in October. We will host a yard sale on Saturday, October 11th from 7AM-1PM, our 3rd annual Harvest Fest and 2nd annual Run/ Walk for Sight will be on Saturday, October 18th with the Run/Walk beginning at 9AM and the Harvest Fest from 10AM to 2PM, and a joint fundraiser with Kutztown University with a Dine in the Dark program on Friday, October 24th. Please continue to check our website at for more details on all of these events.

Thank you for your support of our agency. Here’s to our first 85 years and the upcoming 85!

Vision Resource Center provides programs and services to blind and visually impaired individuals in Berks County. Call 610-375-8407 for more information.  Make sure you like us on Facebook, too.