Diabetic macular edema (DME) treatment
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Although controlling your glucose levels is important when you have diabetes, DME requires additional treatment. There are several types of DME treatment available. Work with your eye care specialist to determine which one is right for you.
These treatments target one or more of the proteins that stimulate growth of the leaky vessels in the eye. These treatments have been shown to slow down the progression of DME in many patients and, in some cases, improve vision by reducing the growth of new blood vessels and decreasing leakage. Eye injections are generally very well tolerated, but side effects can include bloodshot eye, blurred vision, increased pressure inside the eye and others. Your eye care specialist, such as an ophthalmologist or a retina specialist, will help determine if an anti-VEGF is right for you.
This approach stabilizes vision using a laser to stop leakage into the retina and macula. Laser therapy can prevent vision loss caused by DME. Safety issues include possible discomfort during the procedure and potential damage or scarring to the retina.
These drugs work by targeting different mechanisms of the disease: inflammation, or swelling and VEGF factors. They can be delivered by an injection into the eye but they may cause other eye complications, such as cataracts or an increase in intraocular pressure, which is a risk factor for glaucoma.
Description: The picture shows the two types of treatment available for DME: a laser being shone into an eye and an eye receiving an injection.
Narration: When diabetic retinopathy leads to Diabetic Macular Edema or DME, treatment may be necessary. There are currently two treatment options for DME, laser photocoagulation and anti-VEGF treatment.
Description: A doctor is shown using a machine to aim a laser into a man’s eye. A detail section shows the laser hitting a small blood vessel at the back of the eye.
Narration: In laser photocoagulation, leaky blood vessels affecting central vision are sealed using a laser. This slows the leakage of fluid, reducing the amount of fluid in the retina.
Description: A picture of a needle aimed at a target with the word “VEGF” printed on the middle of the target
Narration: Anti-VEGF medicine is a specialized medication for DME that targets VEGF.
Description: a close-up of a blood vessel is drawn with small blood vessels and a depiction of the VEGF molecules floating nearby. As the narration continues, the small blood vessels are erased to show that they have been eradicated.
Narration: These anti-VEGF agents bind to VEGF molecules to prevent them from causing problems. The VEGF molecules are the ones that are partially responsible for the growth of the abnormal, fragile blood vessels and for making existing blood vessels leaky.
Description: A doctor is shown preparing to inject a patient in her eye.
Narration: These injections into the eye are typically well-tolerated, but there is a small risk of infection or bleeding inside the eye following the procedure.
Description: A calendar is shown to indicate that several treatments are needed.
Narration: For best results, several treatments are usually needed.