@PegE just found an amazing resource: visual test strips that require no meters (like the old-fashioned ones! I just went through a 10-day kayak camping expedition, and I would have LOVED to have some of those for redundancy, as we almost ran out of electronics. So I just ordered 4 boxes
These strips are manufactured by an Australian company called National Diagnostic Products, under the Betachek brand name.
The strips come in two flavors:
- Betachek Visual, with a bright color palette (they use 2 sets of colors to make identification easier)
- Glucoflex-R: same technique, but for visually color-impaired people, so the color scale is different:
Quality of the reading
The evaluation study shows that the visual reading is solid:
The evaluation study for Glucoflex-R is also good. The instructions for use appear easy to follow. At the same time, we should not expect as clean a reading as that in a regular meter, as discussed by this Nigerian study that compares it to the Accuchek Active strips + meter:
They seem to last about 18 months per the manufacturer’s preemption date, a calculation based on what I read from this user, Michael David, in England: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/threads/more-than-one-meter.55752/
He is posting early April 2014, bought his strips around Jan-Feb, and has a preemption date of August 2015.
The same user mentions that they somewhat lose accuracy above 8mmol/l, which is 150mg/dl – I think it is primarily because the color gradations start spacing out further by then.
The clearest impact to active dosing is that the color gradations go from 110 to 150 to 200, so your readings can be, I am guessing: 110, 130, 150, 175 and 200. But if you have nothing else I think that is pretty good, in particular since your meter reading, in the end, is +/- 20%.
Cost for 100 strips is $22 plus shipping ($8) but shipping remains the same when you increase the order. As a note, user Michael David (quoted above) mentions in some of his posts that you can cut the strips in length several times with fine scissors to make it more economical. He mentions 3, 4 and up to 5 times, although I have a hard time imagining an accurate read when you cut it in more than 2 pieces. Still, even cutting each strip in two makes the price hard to beat if you buy them 400 strips at a time (400 for $96, i.e. 12c per read if cut in two).
I am buying a couple of the Betachek Visuals, and one box of the Glucoflex-R, to compare how easily they can be read, for evaluation by the forum. I am guessing the Visuals will be easier for us. Let me know if you want some to test – I’ll have extras!
I will report back on results when they arrive. @PegE bought some before me, so the two of us can put up our evaluation!