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All About Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

All About Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Damage to our vision can make doing many normal tasks much harder. If you’re a diabetic, you’re at a higher risk of numerous eye conditions that can affect your vision, such as diabetic macular edema (DME). Millions of diabetics struggle with this illness, and several risk factors can lead to dealing with it. 

If you live in the Pelham Gardens section of the Bronx, New York, and you’re struggling with diabetic macular edema or other diabetic eye problems, the extensive team of optometrists at Bronx Eye Associates can help. To better understand this condition, let’s explore what it is, its causes and symptoms, and look at ways it can be treated.

Understanding diabetic edema

Edema refers to swelling due to fluid buildup. In diabetic macular edema, fluid buildup leads to swelling in the macula, the central part of your retina. 

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to elevated blood sugar levels that damage retinal blood vessels, causing them to leak and cause swelling. The macula is responsible for allowing you to focus and see fine detail but swelling obscures your macula and creates vision problems. 

This is similar to the process that leads to diabetic retinopathy and if you have that condition you’re at higher risk of getting DME. Over 37 million people in America have diabetes and 1 in 14 of those people have DME.

Causes and symptoms

As mentioned earlier, the high amount of blood sugar in your body can damage the retinal blood vessels, leading to fluid buildup and vision loss.  However, other factors can contribute to this condition, including high cholesterol, hypertension, nephropathy (kidney disease), pregnancy, and sleep apnea.

If you’re having vision problems and think it may be from diabetic macular edema, the signs to look for include blurry vision, double vision, problems seeing colors, scotomas (dark spots), seeing straight lines as curved or bent, and issues seeing in glare or with bright lights. Objects may also appear to be of different sizes when looking at them one eye at a time.

Methods of treatment

We treat DME with several methods, such as anti-inflammatory medications, injectable anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and laser therapy. These methods can help to reduce swelling, close and destroy blood vessels leaking into your vitreous, and keep new abnormal blood vessels from developing.

As with most complications from diabetes, controlling your diabetes helps to reduce the symptoms and make managing related conditions easier. Managing diabetes and getting regular eye exams are important steps to keep track of eye problems, and allow us to help you treat problems before they become a major threat to your vision. 

If you have diabetes and are showing signs of illnesses like DME, make an appointment with the team at Bronx Eye Associates today to get the help you need.

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