David Conorton Profile

David Conorton can thank a nagging back pain for saving his health. Three years ago, he lost his vision to diabetic retinopathy. His advice? Control your blood sugar and take nothing for granted.

When David was in his mid-20s, a bad back that wouldn't go away finally landed him in the hospital. While he was being examined, a routine urine test revealed that he had Type 2 diabetes - and in fact had had it for years.

Initially, he was able to manage the condition through diet alone, but eventually he needed pills and medication to keep his symptoms under control.

Symptoms worsened

Several years ago, however, David, then in his early 40s, noticed that his symptoms were gradually becoming worse, and that he felt 'funny' much of the time. He began nodding off in meetings, and noticed that he was squinting at his computer - in fact, his colleagues teased him about how close to the screen he was sitting.

Finally, while driving to work one morning three years ago, he realized he could barely see. Alarmed, he went immediately to the nearest hospital, where he was told the blood vessels in his eyes were bleeding and he was losing his vision.

David underwent seven operations over the next few years, and now, at age 49, he has no vision in his left eye, and only a small amount of vision in his right eye.

David credits the support of his family and the staff at CNIB with helping him adjust to his vision loss and maintain his good spirits and sense of humour. Recently he was featured in a short film directed by his youngest son, Scott, entitled 'My Father's Eyes.'

David's advice

David readily admits that he wasn't as careful as he might have been about monitoring his diabetes and controlling his blood sugar. His advice for anyone with diabetes is simple: 'Learn how to check and control your blood sugar,' he says. 'The resources are out there, through your physician, or even your pharmacist. Just a few minutes each day can literally save your sight.'

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From time to time, we reach out to Canadians for donations to ensure that CNIB is on hand for individuals who are searching for the services and support necessary to enjoy a good quality of life while living with vision loss. Please give generously.