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Treatment journey

Understanding the DME treatment journey, where you are in it, and what you need to do at each stage to progress is an important step in taking charge of your condition


Referral to ophthalmologist

A referral to an ophthalmologist specializing in DME treatment may come from a number of healthcare professionals if they suspect you have either diabetic retinopathy (DR) or DME, including:

  • An optometrist
  • An endocrinologist / diabetologist (diabetes specialist)
  • An ophthalmologist specializing in other, unrelated eye conditions
  • A primary care physician



Once referred, and throughout your treatment, you will encounter a series of tests. These may include:

  • An eye dilation test to make your pupils larger and allow the doctor to see the back of your eye more clearly
  • A visual acuity test to look at the sharpness of your vision
  • An optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan to look at the thickness of your macula and determine the level of swelling
  • A Fluorescein angiogram (FA), used to take pictures of the retinal blood vessels and assess their health.


Eligibility for treatment

The treating ophthalmologist will run some additional tests to assess whether you are eligible for treatment. These may include some or all the tests previously mentioned, and will be aimed at determining:

  • How much swelling is present
  • Where the swelling is located on the macula
  • Any reduction in sharpness of vision


Treatment initiation

Once you have been determined eligible for therapy, your doctor, in consultation with you, will choose an appropriate treatment and treatment plan. If the selected treatment is administered as an injection, your doctor will follow these steps in order to prepare you for the procedure:

  • Before giving you an injection, the doctor or nurse will use a disinfectant eyewash to clean your eye
  • You will then be given some anesthetic to numb your eye and to prevent any discomfort you may experience with the injection


Treatment maintenance

Maintenance of your therapy can take a number of forms and is dependent on a number of different factors:

  • Depending on what treatment you are on as well as your progress, your doctor will choose a schedule for follow up appointments, examinations and treatments
  • You should keep up with this schedule for as long as your doctor recommends

Key patient resources

Understand where you are and what you need to do

Use our checklists to prepare for appointments

See what most DME patients want to know about

An easy-to-understand guide to the medical terms