Diabetic macular edema (DME) risk factors

Everyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME). This is why it is so important for people with diabetes to get a comprehensive detailed eye exam every year.

The longer you live with diabetes, the greater your chances of developing DME. Some of the risk factors associated with living with diabetes include:

  • Hyperglycemia or chronic high levels of blood sugars increase the risk of developing DR and DME; keeping your glycemic levels as close to normal as possible may delay or even prevent the development of DR and DME

  • Dyslipidemia or abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels may increase your risk of DME

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure and the damage it does to your organs are risk factors for DME

  • Nephropathy (kidney disease) and cardiovascular disease or heart disease also increase your risk

  • Cigarette smoking increases the risk of DR, which leads to DME

  • Pregnancy in women with diabetes; comprehensive dilated eye exams should be considered during any pregnancy

  • Anemia, sleep apnea, glitazone usage, genetics, frequent alcohol consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle

DR and DME rarely have visual symptoms in their earlier phases and vision loss can develop very quickly.

Talk to your doctor and get regular check-ups if you have any of these risk factors for DME.

DME risk factors video-Click to watch a video about the risk factors of diabetic macular edema.

Talk to your doctor and get regular check-ups if you have any of these risk factors for DME.

Tips for living with DME

Reducing glare

When indoors, cover the tops of tables or other shiny surfaces. Yellow clip-on glasses can help as well. When outdoors, dark plum or amber glasses and visors can help.

Decrease your risk

There are several important things you can do that may reduce your risk for diabetic macular edema.

  • Get regular screenings to check for things that may contribute to DME, which include your blood pressure and eye health

  • Check your levels to keep your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in a healthy range. Always follow your doctor’s instructions and taking any medications he or she prescribes

risk factor Image with lady holding the vegetables