Diabetic Macular Edema

About Diabetic Macular Edema

Diabetic Macular EdemaNormally, 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 way to observe and diagnose Diabetic Macular Edema is to perform a careful dilated examination with a Fluorescein Angiogram (FA) and Optical Coherence Tomography. Using the Fluorescein Angiogram, Dr. Whitaker 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. If found early enough, Diabetic Macular Edema may be treated with an intrarvitreal therapeutic injection of Triamcinolone Acetonide, a corticosteroid, to reduce inflammation and fluid buildup, and Avastin to prevent new blood vessel growth. In some instances leaky blood vessels are most effectively sealed with Retinal Laser Photocoagulation Treatment. Optical Coherence Tomography allows the degree of swelling to be measured and assessed over time. 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 also possible to have Diabetic Macular Edema and not have vision loss. Dr. Whitaker will review the results of your Fluorescein Angiogram and Optical Coherence Tomography with you and will make recommendations as to whether laser photocoagulation is the best course of treatment to prevent vision loss in these instances. Any diagnosis of Diabetic Macular Edema is an indication that breakdown of the retinal blood vessels from diabetes is beginning and requires careful monitoring. In the discussions of your Fluorescein Angiography Study, Dr. Whitaker will also make specific recommendations about how often you will need to return for eye examinations and the need for additional photographs, Optical Coherence Tomography, or Intravenous Fluorescein Angiograms. Please be sure to keep these appointments as they are critical in helping you maintain your eye health and vision.

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