In normal healthy patients, the small blood vessels of the Retina do not leak. Early in the course of Diabetes, the inner lining of the retinal blood vessels may become weakened resulting in leakage from these vessels. Leakage from the retinal blood vessels may cause the center of the Retina, the Macula, to actually accumulate fluid and swell, a condition referred to as Diabetic Macular Edema. Since the Macula is responsible for precise central vision, Diabetic Macular Edema can result in mild or even significant vision loss.
Diagnosing Diabetic Macular Edema
The accurate diagnosis of Diabetic Macular Edema is made by performing an Intravenous Fluorescein Angiogram (IVF). During the Intravenous Fluorescein Angiogram (IVF), a fluorescent dye is injected into a vein in your arm. As the dye begins to circulate, a series of photographs is taken in order to study the circulation in the Retina and the integrity of the small blood vessels as well as locate any areas of leakage. The earlier that the leaking blood vessels can be identified, the greater the likelihood of a successful laser photocoagulation treatment. 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. Sometimes it is possible to have Diabetic Macular Edema and not have any apparent loss of vision. In these instances, Drs. Alterman, Modi or Wolter guide you on the best course of action, as it still may be necessary to use laser photocoagulation in order to prevent vision loss. In any event, the diagnosis of Diabetic Macular Edema is an indication that the breakdown of the retinal blood vessels is beginning and requires careful observation.
Please contact Seeta Eye Centers at (845) 485-5712 to learn more about diabetic macular edema and your treatment options in Poughkeepsie.