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Diabetic Macular Edema: What it is and how to prevent it

Here are 7 tips to prevent Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).

Written by Aishwarya Iyer |Published : April 17, 2018 2:09 PM IST

India is currently known to be the diabetes capital of the world. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), nearly 6.68 crore people in India suffer from diabetes. Diabetes brings along with it tons of other ailments like Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).

DME is a progressive disease of the retina, which can even lead to vision loss. Many studies show that people suffering from diabetes have 25 times more risk of losing vision compared to the rest of the population. Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) is an accumulation of fluid in the retina due to leaking blood vessels. DME is developed, when one is diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy (DR).

Read: All you need to know about Diabetic Retinopathy.

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DR is a disease that damages the blood vessels in the retina which results in vision impairment. When DR is left untreated, the damaged blood vessels start building up the pressure in the eye and leak fluids causing DME.

Symptoms of DME include blurred, straight lines that appear wavy or crooked, decreased contrast or colour sensitivity, difficulty in seeing from a distance, a small but growing blind spot in the centre of vision.

According to Dr Ajay Dudani, CEO of Mumbai Retina Centre said, The severity of DR is related to the duration of Diabetes Mellitus (DM). A person suffering from DM for a period of 10 years has 50% risk of getting diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy whereas if the duration increases to 20 years the rate ratchets up to 90%. Similarly, poor diabetes control leads to rapid progression of DR.

Read: Eye care tips for diabetics.

7 preventive measures for DME, according to Dr Dudani are:

  1. Patients suffering with diabetes should visit the ophthalmologist every 6 months and not miss scheduled appointments.
  2. Patients should be alert and aware of DME symptoms like blurred or fuzzy vision, straight lines that appear wavy or crooked, colour sensitivity, blind spots in central vision etc and visit the specialist immediately if they experience any change in vision.
  3. Adhere to the treatment protocol as advised by your doctor.
  4. Regularly monitor your sugar levels to effectively manage diabetes.
  5. If you smoke, consult your doctor about a cessation program and work towards quitting.
  6. Maintain a healthy body weight and maintain a balanced diet.
  7. Exercise regularly to avoid high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.

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