Recognizing the symptoms of diabetic macular edema (DME)
Diabetic macular edema, or DME, develops from an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy, or DR. It is a leading cause of vision loss in people with diabetes and can develop at any time in a person with DR.
In the early stages, DME can be treated. Because vision loss can occur very quickly, it is important to get regular screenings before symptoms appear.
However, up to 50% of patients with diabetes do not get their eyes examined regularly and are diagnosed when it is too late for treatment to be effective.
If DME has advanced to the point where there are visual symptoms, these may include:
Description: Three boxes are shown in one picture. The first box shows a man with sharp vision; the second box shows a picture of a tree and a bench that is blurred. The third box shows a man walking a dog to which black spots are added to depict the spots or floaters that patients may see.
Narration: In the initial stages of diabetic retinopathy, often there are no symptoms. Blurred vision may occur if there is swelling of the macula or if there is bleeding into the eye. In some cases, if bleeding occurs, patients will also see spots or floaters.
- Patches of vision loss
- Blurry vision
- Cloudy vision
- Colors that look washed out or faded
At the first sign of these diabetic macular edema symptoms, it is very important to see an ophthalmologist or retina specialist to have the best chance to delay the deterioration of your vision. Talk to your doctor or optometrist about getting a referral.
Even though you may not be experiencing any symptoms, it is important to get your eyes examined at least once a year if you have diabetes.
In addition to DME-related vision loss, there are other vision problems that can be brought on by diabetes that may also require treatment, so be sure to speak with your eye care professional about any tests that you may need to identify potential complications.