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Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Risks, Symptoms, and Treatments of Diabetic Macular Edema

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is the most common cause of vision loss among diabetic patients. It is also a leading cause of vision loss in working adults worldwide. Diabetic Retinopathy can progress and lead to DME.

7.6% of diabetic patients suffer from DME

DME (Diabetic Mocular Edema) occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inner back layer of the eye, resulting in loss of central vision.

The difference between a healthy eye and those who suffer from DME
Normal retina
Retina with diabetic macular edema

The growth of new and weak blood vessels in the eyes results in the leakage of fluid from the vessels. Fluid and protein deposits will then accumulate in the macular region of the retina.

Accumulation of fluid causes the macula to thicken.


All patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing DME. The chances of being diagnosed with DME can be affected by the following risk factors.

5 risk factors of DME


  • Take your diabetes medications as directed by your doctor.
  • Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels.
  • Keep high blood pressure under control.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight and manage your diet.
  • If you smoke, speak with your doctor about a cessation program and work towards quitting as soon as you can.
  • Exercise regularly to help avoid high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.
A grandma exercises with her grand daughter


It is important to follow up on your DME diagnosis with your ophthalmologist. DME is often asymptomatic (no symptoms) and vision loss due to DME can be gradual.

Gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly.

A part of the text cannot be read clearly

Shape of objects appear distorted and straight lines look wavy or crooked.

Elevator seems to be distorted

A dark area in central part of vision.

Object becomes dark in the central of vision
A doctor with a stethoscope


Patients with DME may not be aware of how much sight they have lost as vision diminishes gradually. Use the Amsler grid to check your eyesight everyday to notice subtle vision change.

How to test your eye?

Amsler grid to check your eyesight

In good light, look at the grid from about 30-40 cm away. Be sure to wear your reading glasses if you normally use them.

Cover one eye. Look directly at the dot in the center of the grid with your uncovered eye.

Notice if any of the lines look wavy or crooked. See if any part of the grid looks blurry, dim, or out of shape.

Cover the other eye and test your vision the same way again.

diabetic macular edema


diabetic macular edema Singapore

None of these are permanent cures, but they can help minimise vision loss

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