Diabetic Macular Edema is a common complication of diabetic eye disease and may occur on its own or accompanies Diabetic Retinopathy. Normally, the small blood vessels in the Retina do not leak. One of the early effects of diabetes is to cause the blood vessels in the Retina to begin to leak by weakening the inner lining of the blood vessels so that they become porous. Leakage from the retinal blood vessels causes the center of the Retina, the Macula, to actually swell, a condition called Diabetic Macular Edema. Diabetic Macular Edema can occur in any stage of Diabetic Retinopathy.
The Macula is responsible for central vision, and thus Diabetic Macular Edema can result in vision loss of varying severity. The most effective and accurate ways to observe and diagnose Diabetic Macular Edema are to perform Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Intravenous Fluorescein Angiography (IVF). Using the IVF, Center for Sight Retinal Specialist Robert Kelly, M.D. will be able to precisely and directly observe the severity and location of “leaky” blood vessels. It is important that leaking blood vessels be found as early as possible so that they can be most effectively sealed with Retinal Laser Photocoagulation Treatment. In most cases, early laser treatment will reduce the swelling and prevent further vision loss, but will not restore vision that has already been compromised.
It is possible to have Diabetic Macular Edema and not have vision loss. Dr. Kelly will review the results of your IVF with you and will make recommendations as to whether laser photocoagulation or perhaps Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Inhibitor injections such as Lucentis® or Eyelea® offer the best course of treatment to prevent vision loss in these instances. Today, for most patients, VEGF inhibitor intravitreal injections such as Lucentis® or Eylea®, which are less destructive and safer than laser treatments, are considered as primary therapy for the management of vision-threatening complications of diabetic retinopathy such as diabetic macular edema (DME).
Any diagnosis of Diabetic Macular Edema is an indication that breakdown of the retinal blood vessels from diabetes is starting to occur and requires careful monitoring. Dr. Kelly will also make specific recommendations about the frequency of your examinations and the need for additional photographs or Intravenous Fluorescein Angiograms at these appointments.
Center for Sight is conveniently located for diabetic patients in need of evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy in Massachusetts or Rhode Island from Attleboro, Fairhaven, Fall River, Franklin, Mansfield, Marion, Mattapoisett, Medfield, Milford, New Bedford, North Attleboro, North Dartmouth, Norton, Oxford, Rehoboth, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Walpole, Whitinsville, Woonsocket, Providence, Smithfield, Westport, Lakeville, Dighton, Little Compton, and Tiverton.