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4 Diabetic Macular Edema Symptoms to Look Out For

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Diabetes is a disease that comes with many complications throughout the body. If you are not aware of the potential complications of diabetes, you may discover them after irreversible damage has occurred. Diabetic macular edema (DME) is just one example of complications relating to diabetes.

Just what is diabetic macular edema and what are some signs you may have it?

If you’re concerned you may be developing DME, here is a helpful guide to understanding the disease, its symptoms, and your treatment options.

What is Diabetic Macular Edema?

DME is a complication in the retina caused by diabetes. It occurs as fluid builds up around the macula, the center of the retina. This area is responsible for focusing and visualizing fine details.

This fluid buildup comes from leakage of the tiny blood vessels inside the eye. High blood sugar and subsequent inflammation stemming from uncontrolled diabetes can damage these blood vessels; the more damaged the vessels become, the more fluid they can leak into the eye and onto the retina. You may experience further vision loss the longer the diabetic macular edema goes unnoticed.

Those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are both susceptible to this complication. It’s important to keep an eye on any changes in your vision; if you notice any odd changes, you should visit your eye doctor right away for a diagnosis.

Things to Watch

Now that you have a better understanding of what DME is, you need to know what signs to watch out for. Here are just a few indications that you may be developing DME:

1. Blurry or Double Vision

As the macula becomes clouded with excess fluid, you can expect less clear vision. You may experience blurry or double vision as you struggle to make out finer details. While blurry or double vision could be a sign of other eye injuries as well, you should speak with your doctor about any new or worsening changes to your vision.

2. Washed-Out Colors

You may notice that colors are less vibrant than they were originally. Your retina and macula are responsible for making out details like this. As the fluid continues to pool on your macula, you may have a harder time discerning colors.

3. Floaters

Floaters” are natural occurrences that often appear with age. What we call floaters appear as small spots in your vision and can present as spots, spider webs, strings, or grey specks in your vision; if you try to look at them, they usually dart away.

As you age, the jelly-like substance inside of your eyes can become more like water. Microscopic fibers can gather into small bunches inside of the eye, causing shadows to appear on your retina. These small shadows are called floaters, which can also be caused by bleeding into the retina or vitreous.

If you notice more floaters in your vision, it could be a sign that more fluid is building up inside of your eye, or that your eyes are becoming severely damaged. You should visit an eye doctor right away to find out more information.

4. Other Extreme Changes in Vision

While your eyesight can change slightly from day to day, any drastic changes in your vision should be taken into account. If you experience severe vision loss in any way, you should talk with your doctor right away. The sooner you can get diagnosed with DME, the sooner you can start getting treated.

Diabetic Macular Edema Treatment Options

Diabetic macular edema is the number one cause of vision loss related to diabetes. Fortunately, there are treatment options available for those suffering from DME.

Laser therapy is sometimes used to target the damaged areas of the eye directly. The lasers carefully seal off the damaged blood vessels, preventing them from leaking further. Treatment commonly involves multiple sessions.

Injectable anti-VEGF medications are injected directly into the eye; this medication blocks or slows new blood vessels from forming while also repairing leaking blood vessels. You may need multiple injections in order to see improvement.

Corticosteroids can also be used to treat DME. Corticosteroids can also be injected into the eye and act as an anti-inflammatory medication that can reduce swelling and improve vision.

These injections have been shown to improve eyesight over time.

Your eye doctor may recommend more than one treatment option to help improve or maintain your vision. If you are concerned about the potential side effects of any of these treatments, make sure you speak with your eye doctor.

Take Control of Your Diabetes

You don’t have to live in fear of what your diabetes might cause. Now that you know about diabetic macular edema, you can proactively take steps to help preserve your eyesight. Remember, if you ever have any concerns about a sudden change in your vision, talk with your eye doctor immediately to get a formal diagnosis!

We’re also here to help. Contact us with any questions or concerns you have about our injectable treatment options and continue reading our blog for more helpful information today!

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