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Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) is an accumulation of fluid in the macula(part of the retina that controls our most detailed vision abilities)due to leaking blood vessels. DME develops in eyes wth diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a disease that damages the blood vessels in the retina, resulting in vision impairment. Left untreated, these blood vessels begin to build up pressure in the eye and leak fluid, causing DME.
DME is associated with:
- Those who have had diabetes for an extended amount of time
- Severe hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Fluid retention
- Hypoalbuminemia (low levels of protein in body fluids)
- Hyperlipidemia (high levels of fats in the blood)
Symptoms: Common symptoms of DME are
- Blurry vision
- Double vision
- Eventually blindness if it goes untreated
Who is at risk of diabetic macular oedema:
About 1 in 3 people with diabetes develop macular Eedema. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of getting diabetic macular oedema. Also other risk factors are:
How is diabetic macular oedema detected:
Diabetic macular oedema can be detected during regular visits to the doctor. Patients with diabetes should be offered screening tests. Digital photographs of the patients can be taken as they show the early signs of diabetic macular oedema, though changes in vision might not be noticed at this time.
What happens when you attend the medical retina clinic:
When you go for an eye checkup you will undergo a comprehensive examination which includes:
- Visual acuity test: This is a sight test which measures how well you can see the different distances
- Eye pressure test: This test is done to measure the pressure of the eyes and usually drops which numb the eyes are used when this test is conducted
- Dilated eye examination: In this the drops are placed in the eye to dilate the pupils and then the back of the eye is examined.
- Fluorescein angiography: This is a diagnostic test in which an injection of fluorescein dye is given in the hand and then the photographs are taken.
- Optical coherence tomography: This is done to measure the retinal swelling
How to reduce the risks of diabetic macula oedema:
The risk of diabetic macula oedema can be reduced by quitting smoking, and to make sure that blood sugar and cholesterol levels are under control. This is achieved by regularly measuring the cholesterol and blood sugar levels. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an ophthalmologist.