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DME GLOSSARY

Learning all you can about your disease can help you and your eye doctor make informed decisions. We’re here to help. Please see below for important terms related to DME and how to treat it.

anti-VEGF intravitreal injection
Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (Anti-VEGF) drugs are used to treat DME by reducing abnormal and damaging blood vessel growth and leakage in the retina. The drug is administered by an injection into the eye and requires up to one injection per month.
cataract
Clouding of the lens of the eye, resulting in blurry vision. Consistent high blood sugar levels over time (frequently due to diabetes) can accelerate development of cataracts. The use of corticosteroids may also accelerate the formation of cataracts.
corticosteroids
Treat inflammation and relieve symptoms such as swelling, pain, redness or irritation of the eye. Ophthalmic corticosteroids are delivered by eye drops, gels, ointments, injections, or injectable implant.
diabetic macular edema (DME)
A condition of the eye in people with diabetes brought on by swelling in the macula—the part of the eye responsible for central vision. Diabetes causes inflammation that damages blood vessels including those inside the eye, which can cause them to become leaky. When diabetes affects the eye, it also causes edema to develop inside the eye. Symptoms of DME include blurry vision and loss of vision.
diabetic retinopathy (DR)
Refers to the damage to the blood vessels in the retina because of diabetes and subsequent chronic inflammation. A complication of DR is DME or swelling of the retina that involves the macula.
glaucoma
An eye disorder that affects the optic nerve in the eye resulting in damage to the vision system leading to vision loss.
intraocular pressure (IOP)
The fluid pressure inside the eye. Elevation of pressure inside the eye is a risk factor for the development of glaucoma.
intravitreal implant
A specially constructed microimplant that is injected into the vitreous of the eye.
macula
The part of the retina responsible for central vision (what you see in front of you, for instance when you read or drive).
macular edema
Swelling or thickening of the macula caused by fluid leaking from the retina’s blood vessels. It is the most common cause of vision loss in diabetes.
ophthalmology
A branch of medical science dealing with the structure, functions, and diseases of the eye.
retina
A thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the back of the eye. The purpose of the retina is to receive light that the lens has focused, convert the light into neural signals, and send these signals to the brain for visual recognition. 
tonometry
A test that measures the pressure inside the eye. It is used to measure intraocular pressure.
visual acuity (VA)
A measure of your ability to see primarily with the part of your eye called the macula. This is the part of your eye that you use to read. Normal visual acuity is 20/20. Legal blindness is defined as VA worse than or equal to 20/200.
vitreous
A clear gel-like substance in the back of the eye.

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