Diabetics are at great risk of vision loss, and diabetic macular edema (DME) is a leading cause of this blindness.
Experts believe up to ten percent of diabetics have this condition, which leads to fluid building up in the macula or central part of the retina. A person’s vision is sharpest in the macula, and DME can lead to an inability to focus clearly.
What is DME?
People often ask, “what is dme?” Excessive blood sugar damages blood vessels in the retina and can block these blood vessels completely.
Doctors refer to this as diabetic retinopathy. Microaneurysms can then develop in the blood vessels and leak fluid into the retina. The accumulation of the fluid in the retina is what brings about diabetic macular edema or swelling in the macula and the accompanying vision problems.
Any diabetic is at risk of diabetic macular edema. To detect this disease early, every person should see the eye doctor yearly or more often if the eye doctor recommends it.
In addition, if a person notices any of the following symptoms, they should contact their eye doctor immediately. These symptoms include double or blurred vision or a sudden increase in the number of eye floaters they experience. However, any change in vision should lead to a visit to the doctor to learn what is going on.
DME Risk Factors
Many things increase a person’s risk for DME. If a person’s glucose is poorly controlled for an extended period, they are more likely to develop DME.
A person’s risk of this condition increases the longer they have diabetes and those with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of developing vision issues. Men and women with extremely high blood pressure or kidney disease are at greater risk of diabetic macular edema, and the same is true for those who suffer from hyperlipidemia.
Men and women can take steps to prevent diabetic macular edema. Regular visits to the doctor help detect uncontrolled blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, so steps can be taken to bring these three into an acceptable range.
Regular eye exams are essential for diabetics to detect signs of DME early, and pregnant women with diabetes should see an eye doctor as soon as they learn they have diabetes.
A healthy diet helps prevent DME, as does regular exercise. Always speak to the doctor before beginning a new exercise program to ensure doing so is safe. In addition, ask the doctor for other recommendations on how to prevent DME.
The first step in treating DME is to control the blood sugar. Once this has been done, the doctor might recommend bispecific monoclonal antibody drugs or anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs to prevent the formation of new blood vessels while limiting leakage from existing ones.
A focal laser may be used to close and destroy the blood vessels that are leaking, but it may leave a person with permanent blind spots. The doctor might also use corticosteroids to reduce the swelling and improve vision.
Any person with diabetes must make regular medical care a priority. This care goes beyond seeing their primary care physician. An eye doctor well-versed in DME can help control the swelling and reduce the risk of additional vision loss. Make an appointment with an eye doctor today to have your vision checked. It is too precious to leave to chance.