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Creative Commons License photo credit: brianjmatisThe specialised team at the Sydney Eye Hospital know that seventy-five percent of vision loss is preventable or treatable if detected early enough. Vision loss can affect people at any time in their lives and can happen gradually—in fact, gradually enough that once detected the damage will have been done.

It is crucial that every Australian get their eyes checked regularly to prevent vision loss. Macular edema can be a complication of diabetic retinopathy and it is the most common form of vision loss for people with diabetes—particularly if gone untreated. Without the important medical research done in this area by the Sydney Eye Hospital, the advanced medical treatments that exist today would not be available to help treat this serious condition.

Macular edema is the swelling or thickening of the eye’s macula due to fluid leakage. The macula does not function properly when it is swollen, which puts you at risk for mild to severe vision loss. The macular is a very thin layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye at the centre of the retina. Light rays focus onto the retina and are transmitted to the brain then interpreted as images. This sensitive area of the eye is responsible for precision and detail, and it is the reason you are able to read or recognise a face.

If you are diagnosed with macular edema, it means there is fluid leakage around the macula. This condition needs to be treated right away with either focal laser or medication injection of steroids or anti-VEGF agents. In both cases, the treatment will help control the leaking fluid and reduce swelling. For people with diabetes, controlling blood sugar and blood pressure is another method of macular edema treatment.

It may take several months for macular edema to resolve itself. During this time, it is important that you get treatment and follow the directions recommended by your doctor through the Sydney Eye Hospital. The message for diabetics? Make sure that you get your eyes checked regularly and that you take care of your eyes by ensuring any conditions like macular edema are under control through treatment and care with a professional eye doctor.

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