Treatment for Diabetic Macular Edema

Written by Susan A Spinasanta

Steroid and anti-VEGF drugs are non-surgical treatment options for DME (diabetic macular edema). These drugs are injected into fluid inside the eye.

Laser surgery
Focal laser surgery is usually performed to treat DME on an outpatient basis. If DME affects both eyes, only one eye at a time will be treated several weeks apart. Some patients need focal laser surgery more than one time.

Before surgery, drops are administered to dilate the pupil and numb the eye. Dilation widens the surgical entry to the inside of the eye. The surgeon uses the laser to burn away fluid leakage.

According to the National Eye Institute, "Focal laser treatment helps stabilize vision and reduce the risk of vision loss by 50%." Laser surgery combined with appropriate follow-up care greatly reduces the risk of blindness.

Control vision complications
Patients can help control the onset and management of diabetic retinopathies, including DME. Stay proactive about managing diabetes.


National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health. Facts about diabetic retinopathy. Accessed April 16, 2013.

Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM. Complications of diabetes mellitus. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders;2011.

MDConsult. Lasers in oprthalmology. Adult Health Advisor. Elsevier. 2013.