Diabetic Macular Edema
Last week’s blog was an introduction to Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), a disease with the root cause being diabetes. DME is and end result of diabetic retinopathy, which is a thickening of the retina due to fluid buildup caused by damage to the blood vessels of the eyes as a result of diabetes. When the fluid begins to leak into the retina it leads to the DME, and a real threat to vision.
There are symptoms with DME, but sometimes they go unnoticed because of the slow changes in vision over time. Although a senior may not experience any symptoms, it does not mean there is no retinopathy present. With that being understood, it is absolutely crucial that seniors with diabetes to get an annual diabetic eye exam.
An optometrist will dilate the pupils of the eyes, allowing him to look in at the retina. A special camera will capture an image of the retina. This procedure is called optical coherent tomography (OCT). The OCT image enables the doctor to examine the retina, looking for a thickening of the retina caused by fluid buildup. Not only can the retina thickening be viewed, but more so, the exact spot of the buildup. The OCT also provides the optometrist with a means of tracking the eye changes over time.