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“An eye exam literally saved my life” were words Sharon, a 54-year-old New Orleans resident, never thought she would hear herself say.

Sharon was working around the clock as an administrative assistant and taking care of her daughter and grandchildren who live with her. She’s always put her family’s needs before her own, which coupled with her busy lifestyle, didn’t give her much time to take care of her own health or make healthy eating a priority.

When she started noticing her vision getting blurry, she thought it must be time for an updated glasses prescription. Sharon scheduled an eye exam with her local eye doctor thinking it would be like any other routine exam.

VSP network doctor and board member, Jarrett Johnson, OD, MPH performed a comprehensive eye exam on Sharon and noticed that the blood vessels in the back of her eye were swollen.

“The thing that stood out to me most when I was performing Sharon’s exam was the fact that the blurriness in her vision had altered her prescription,” said Dr. Johnson. “When we see that, we know pretty much that that’s indicative of diabetes.”

Dr. Johnson urged Sharon to see her primary care physician and get blood work done to confirm the diagnosis and sure enough, she had full blown diabetes. The disease had progressed so much so that Sharon’s kidneys were failing, and she was also diagnosed with stage three kidney disease.

With the diagnosis, Sharon’s world flipped upside down. She knew she had to make a change both for her health and for her family, so she could be around for her children and grandchildren.

“Had I not gone to Dr. Johnson for that eye exam, then I probably still would be making poor choices and my health condition would be far worse than what it is,” said Sharon.

Watch more of Sharon’s story to find out how she is managing her diabetes and what lifestyle changes she is making to take control of her health.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

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