Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) Overview

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) is an eye condition that may occur among people who have had diabetes for a long time. Edema is swelling that occurs because fluid leaks out of blood vessels in the part of the eye that gives us sharp vision in the center of our visual field (the macula).

Among adults who have had diabetes for at least 20 years, 3 out of 10 will develop DME. Among adults who already have advanced diabetic retinopathy, 7 out of 10 will develop DME. As many as 24,000 Americans with diabetes go blind each year in the US as a result of diabetic retinopathy.

DME may be categorized as focal (small patches of DME damage in the center of the retina) or diffuse (widespread damage visible throughout the macula). An alternative way to classify DME is Clinically Significant Macular Edema (CSME), non-Clinically Significant Macular Edema (non-CSME), CSME with central involvement (CSME-CI).


Written by Jane Neff Rollins, MSPH

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