Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a possible complication of diabetes. It happens when the tiny blood vessels in the eye get damaged from high blood sugar levels over time. In the early stages, there may be no symptoms or changes in your vision.

Damage to the delicate cells lining these blood vessels weakens them, leading to progressive leakage of fluid, protein, and lipids.

This fluid can build up and cause the center part of the retina, called the macula, to swell. The macula allows you to focus on things, especially in the central part of your vision.

As the macula continues to swell and thicken, eyesight is affected. In some cases, it leads to blindness. Annual eye exams are important for early detection. An eye doctor can see changes in your eyes before your vision is affected.

There are treatments available to slow the progression of DME. It’s wise to talk with your eye doctor if you notice any changes in your vision.

Here are some of the changes that may happen with your eyes and with your vision as DME progresses.