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How does diabetic macular edema affect your vision

How does diabetic macular edema affect your vision

Vision Health


Diabetes is a metabolic disease with far-stretched health complications. One of these complications is diabetic macular edema. Edema or oedema is also called dropsy sometimes and can also affect your ankles, in which case it is called peripheral edema.

What is diabetic macular edema?

Edema or oedema means fluid retention. The macula of your eye is located at the center of your retina and allows you to focus and see fine details. It is the lining at the back of your eye that is full of blood vessels. Diabetic macular edema occurs when excess fluid starts to build up in the macula of the eye, causing swelling of that area. This can lead to vision problems. Diabetic macular edema is a progressive condition that develops over time and can affect your central vision.

What are the symptoms of diabetic macular oedema?

At the initial stage, you may hardly notice any symptoms of the disease. However, as the disease progresses, it may cause symptoms like:

Remember that the longer you live with diabetes, the more are your chances of developing diabetic macular edema.

  • Double vision
  • Blurry vision, particularly at the center of your vision field
  • Colors can seem faded or less vibrant to you
  • Blind spots and floaters
  • Partial or total vision loss

How does diabetic macular edema cause vision loss?

As stated earlier, vision loss due to diabetic macular edema occurs when the fluid reaches the macula. The macula is in the center of the retina, which helps us to sharpen our vision. The fluid, once it reaches the macula, builds up and causes swelling. In the beginning stage of diabetic macular edema, you may not notice any particular changes to your vision. However, over time, it can cause damage to your central vision. Remember that a healthy macula is vital for good vision.

Can diabetic macular edema be cured?

Unfortunately, there is no cure found for the disease until now. However, scientists are constantly searching for potential ways to reverse the vision damage caused by the condition and prevent it. If the disease is in the very initial stages and hasn't made a noticeable impact on your vision yet, you may not need immediate treatment. However, your eye doctor may want you to visit him more frequently to assess the progress of the condition.

The researchers at the National Eye Institute are currently studying whether molecules that control certain genes, also known as micro-RNAs, can help shut down the genes connected to the occurrence of diabetic macular edema. However, more research is needed regarding this before scientists can reach a conclusion.

Meanwhile, there are treatments and diabetes management strategies that can slow the progression of the disease. The main goal of the treatment of diabetic macular edema is to prevent any further vision loss or blindness. However, keep in mind that even the most advanced treatments of diabetic macular edema usually cannot fully restore the lost sight of the patient.

How to reduce the risks of diabetic macular edema?

If you want to reduce the risks of the disease, ensure that your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels are well controlled. You can achieve this by regular visits to your general practitioner, diabetes nurse, or hospital doctor, having a healthy diet, and doing regular workouts. Additionally, remember that smokers are at risk for diabetic edema. Therefore avoiding smoking might be a better idea.

How is diabetic macular edema detected?

Usually, diabetic macula edema is detected in patients during their annual eye screening visits. These visits are offered to all diabetic patients. During such visits, digital photographs of their retina are taken, which may show early signs of the disease. During these early stages, you may not notice any specific changes in your vision.

If you show signs of early DME, the experts at Netralayam can help you. All you have to do is give us a call or schedule an online appointment with us as early as possible. Netralayam is among the most prominent eye hospitals in Kolkata, providing expert treatment for a variety of eye conditions.



The mission of Netralayam is to provide tertiary level superspeciality eye care service of highest quality to all sections of the society through a team of competent, committed and compassionate professionals in a patient-friendly environment.

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