Diabetic Macular EdemaDME Treatment

Let's Talk About Diabetic Macular Edema Treatment

You've got options for treating your DME. This info will help you make those decisions with confidence.

    Our Pro PanelDiabetic Macular Edema Treatment

    We went to some of the nation’s top vision experts in diabetic macular edema treatment to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Michelle Liang, M.D.

    Michelle Liang, M.D.Ophthalmologist

    Tufts Medical Center
    Abdhish R. Bhavsar, M.D.

    Abdhish R. Bhavsar, M.D.Spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and President and Director of Clinical Research

    Retina Center of Minnesota
    Jennifer Sun, M.D.

    Jennifer Sun, M.D.Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

    Harvard Medical School

    Frequently Asked QuestionsDME Treatments

    Do I have to get injections in my eye?

    Unless your eye doctor decides to take a wait-and-see approach to your DME, injections of anti-VEGF medications are typically the first line of defense. So chances are, you will need to receive an ocular injection to best preserve your vision at some point in your treatment. But rest assured that eye-numbing drops are always used and you should not feel pain.

    What are anti-VEGF medications?

    VEGF stands for vascular endothelial growth factor and it is a naturally occurring "signal" protein that alerts the body to create new blood vessels when under duress. In most cases, that's a good thing: VEGF helps tissue heal after injury and helps repair muscles after exercise. But when it comes to diabetic retinopathy, it's a case of too much of a good thing. Anti-VEGF drugs aim to stop the activity of VEGF and prevent the formation of problematic new vessels.

    Anti-VEGF medications didn’t work for me. Are there other options?

    Yes! Studies show that anywhere from 20% to 60% of patients with DME do not respond to anti-VEGF drugs, so you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are other effective treatments, including corticosteroid medications and laser therapy.

    I have diabetic macular edema, but my vision is great. Do I have to treat?

    Not necessarily. If your vision is 20/25 or better and your DME is center-focused, your eye doctor may want to hold off on treatment and schedule very frequent eye exams instead.

    Patty Onderko

    Patty Onderko

    Patty Onderko is a health and lifestyle writer and editor living in Brooklyn, NY.