Lifestyle Changes to Slow Diabetic Macular Edema Progression


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If you have diabetes, it’s important to get regular eye exams to look for changes in your eyes that can lead to vision loss. Many of these changes fall under the umbrella of diabetic retinopathy — damage to blood vessels in the back of your eye, an area known as the retina.

In people with diabetic retinopathy, fluid can leak out of blood vessels and cause swelling in your retina. This type of swelling is called diabetic macular edema, and it typically requires treatment to prevent vision changes and vision loss.

But medical treatments aren’t the only way to help keep this condition under control. In fact, lifestyle changes — including dietary changes — may be essential to avoiding ongoing medical treatments and actually stabilizing your vision.

“We do have a lot of treatments for diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, and all of those have a temporary effect,” says Kasra Rezaei, MD, an ophthalmologist and associate chief of service for ophthalmic surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. “They don’t solve the issue until we control blood sugar.”

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