Understanding Diabetic Macular Edema: Everything You Must Know

Diabetics face many challenges with their health. The eyes are one of the most vulnerable areas in diabetics because they can so easily become damaged. Macular edema can occur over time. When it occurs, vision loss can sometimes result. This information is meant to help people better understand what this eye condition is, the symptoms, and how it can be treated effectively. 

What Is Diabetic Macular Edema?

Those who have Type I or Type II diabetes are at risk of damaging the nerves and blood vessels of their eyes due to consistently high blood sugar. When macular edema occurs, fluid begins building up in the macula area of the eye. The increased fluid places pressure on the retina and causes swelling. This swelling leads to distortions in vision. What is DME is a question many diabetics have regarding the health of their eyes. 

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Macular Edema?

Individuals who suffer from diabetes are in danger of developing diabetic macular edema. This condition causes multiple symptoms, depending on the severity. The following are some of the top symptoms noticed by sufferers. 

  • Blurry vision is one of the most common symptoms people experience with DME. 
  • Colors will often appear washed out when someone suffers from DME. 
  • Individuals who suffer from diabetic macular edema will likely notice an increase in floaters in their eyes. 
  • As the condition worsens, individuals will begin experiencing double vision. 

Uncontrollable Blood Sugar Levels Cause DME

Diabetics, no matter the type, must keep their blood sugar levels under control. Consistently high blood sugar readings lead to fluid buildup in the macula area and swelling of the retina. The full focus of a diabetic should be to keep their blood sugar levels under control at all times. 

As co-contributors, individuals also need to ensure their blood pressure and cholesterol readings are as close to normal as possible. All three of these conditions cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the eyes of a diabetic. 

How Is DME Treated?

The primary form of treatment for DME is preventative. Keeping blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure readings under control will help prevent and lessen the build-up of fluid and swelling. The following are some of the most common types of treatment for diabetic macular edema. Often, more than one treatment becomes necessary to bring this condition under control and stop the damage.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is one of the most effective treatments for diabetic macular edema. It targets the minute blood vessels in the eyes. Laser treatments help seal leaky vessels in the retina, protecting a person’s eyesight and preventing a further buildup of fluid. For severe eye damage, laser therapy treatments will continue throughout the recovery phase. 

Medication Injections

Two types of injectable medications treat DME. The first type is anti-VEGF. Anti-VEGF medications help prevent abnormal blood vessel growth in the eyes. Anti-VEGF stands for anti-vascular endothelial growth factor. 

The second type is steroids. Steroids help reduce excess swelling in the eyes. A steroid injection may help improve a person’s vision. Steroids are often used when anti-VEGF injections do not effectively treat the eyes. 

Get Medical Treatment Right Away

Those who suffer from the above symptoms need to have their eyes examined to check for diabetic macular edema. Prompt treatment protects the health of the eyes. When individuals wait to seek medical treatment, their eyesight is sometimes negatively affected permanently. 

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