Diabetes can cause ocular complications, one of which is diabetes-related macular edema (DME). Talking about this, Dr. Mahipal Singh Sachdev who is the Chairman and Managing Director of Center for Sight, New Delhi said, “High blood sugar causes damage to the tiny blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. The center region of the retina called the macula, which is in responsible for fine detail vision, swells (edema) as a result of this damage.”
In this article we will delve into the impact of DME, its symptoms, treatment and preventive measures. But before that let us know what DME is all about.
What Is Diabetes Related Macular Edema:
Dr Debulal Chakraborty from Disha Eye Hospitals, Sheoraphuly Branch said, “Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a serious complication that can occur in individuals with diabetes. It primarily affects the macula, which is a part of the retina in the eye responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision. DME is characterised by swelling in the macula due to leaking fluid from blood vessels within the retina. This condition is closely related to diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes complication that affects the eyes.”
Talkimg about the cause behind this condition, he said, “The primary cause of DME is the damage to the blood vessels of the retina from prolonged high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes. Over time, diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina, causing them to become weak and leaky. This leakage leads to fluid accumulation in the macula, causing it to swell and thicken, which in turn disrupts the normal vision.”
The Impact Of DME On Eyes:
In this regard, Dr. Mahipal Singh Sachdev shared the following:
- Distorted or Blurred Vision: The swelling in the macula may result in distorted or hazy vision. This may impair one’s ability to read, recognize faces, or see minute details.
- Loss of Central Vision: DME mostly impairs central vision, making it difficult to focus on things that are right in front of you. This may make it difficult to read or drive.
- Difficulty Understanding Colours: DME might affect colour perception in advanced stages.
- Variations in Vision: DME can result in varying variations in vision, which can make it difficult and unexpected to manage everyday tasks that depend on having clear vision.
Signs And Symptoms To Watch Out For:
Dr. Mahipal Singh Sachdev listed the following signs and symptoms that one should watch out for DME:
- Vision distortion or blurriness: This might vary from a slight haziness to a significant loss of vision.
- Trouble Seeing Fine Details: It becomes difficult to read, recognize faces, or carry out activities requiring keen eyesight.
- Variable Vision: Throughout the day, there may be variations in vision that are not always steady.
In this regard, Dr Debulal Chakraborty said, “Treatment options for DME are aimed at reducing the swelling in the macula and improving vision. These treatments include anti-VEGF injections (which help reduce abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage), corticosteroids (either injected or implanted into the eye), and laser surgery. Laser treatment, specifically focal/grid macular laser surgery, can help seal off leaking blood vessels. Management of underlying diabetes is also crucial in the treatment and prevention of DME, as well-controlled blood sugar levels can significantly reduce the risk of developing this condition.”
Talking about the prevention tips, Dr. Ravi Daruka who is a Senior Consultant at Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals said the following:
- Tight blood sugar control: The cornerstone of preventing DME is maintaining a tight control over blood sugar levels. Regular monitoring and adhering to prescribed medication schedules can significantly reduce the risk.
- Manage blood pressure and cholesterol: Alongside blood sugar, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check is crucial. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and medication adherence play a pivotal role here.
- Regular eye exams: Annual or bi-annual eye exams are essential for early detection of diabetic retinopathy and DME. Early treatment can prevent severe vision loss.
- Quit smoking: Smoking exacerbates the risks associated with diabetes, including the development of DME. Quitting smoking can thus reduce the risk.
- Healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins helps in managing diabetes and thereby reducing the risk of DME. But do consult your dietician for your diet requirements.
- Regular exercise: Exercise helps in controlling blood sugar levels, reducing blood pressure, and managing weight, all of which are vital in preventing DME.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Cure Diabetes-Related Macular Edema
Dr. Mandeep Singh Basu, who is the director of Jagat Pharma and Dr. Basu Eye Hospital said, “While there are many medical treatments available, Ayurveda provides a different way to look at these problems. Basically, Ayurveda focuses on balance and harmony in the body and on the root causes of such conditions.”
Let’s delve into the practices that help cure diabetes-related Macular Edema as suggested by him.
Ayurveda advocates a holistic approach to health, and this extends to eye care. Incorporating aerobic activities like walking, cycling, hiking, and resistance training can enhance overall eye health. Low-impact exercises, when performed regularly, can improve blood circulation to the eyes, promoting their vitality.
- Blood pressure management
High blood pressure is a common companion to diabetes and can worsen eye conditions. Ayurveda underscores the importance of keeping blood pressure in check. Through lifestyle adjustments, such as stress reduction and regular monitoring, individuals with diabetes can mitigate the risk of heightened blood pressure, thereby safeguarding their eyesight.
- Blood sugar monitoring and stress reduction
Ayurveda places great emphasis on understanding one’s body and its rhythms. Establishing a pattern for regular blood sugar checks, combined with stress reduction techniques like meditation and yoga, can be very helpful in managing diabetes. Stress reduction, along with the cessation of smoking, contributes not only to diabetes management but also to overall well-being.
Ayurvedic dietary principles advocate for a balanced and wholesome diet. For individuals with diabetes and Diabetes-Related Macular Edema, reducing sugary foods, embracing a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and incorporating an adequate amount of protein are essential. Such dietary modifications can potentially support better blood sugar control and overall health.
Ayurveda recognises the impact of alcohol on the body’s balance. Abstaining from alcohol is advised as part of a holistic approach to managing diabetes and its complications, including Diabetes-Related Macular Edema. This lifestyle change aligns with Ayurvedic principles of maintaining balance within the body.
Ayurveda encourages open communication with healthcare providers. Regular consultations with doctors to assess the effectiveness of medications and explore Ayurvedic supplements in conjunction with treatments can be beneficial. This collaborative approach ensures a comprehensive strategy for managing Diabetes-Related Macular Edema.
- Coffee and tea for eye health
Ayurvedic wisdom acknowledges the potential benefits of certain beverages. Green tea, known for its antioxidants, may contribute to improved retinal health. Similarly, coffee, with its anti-inflammatory effects, is suggested to impact eye health positively and may even lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
[Disclaimer: The information provided in the article, including treatment suggestions shared by doctors, is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.]
Check out below Health Tools-
Calculate Your Body Mass Index ( BMI )