Diabetic macular edema: review and update

Ophthalmol Clin North Am. 2002 Dec;15(4):555-63. doi: 10.1016/s0896-1549(02)00043-3.


Impairment in the visual acuity and quality of life of diabetic patients with macular edema can undeniably be decreased with systemic and ocular therapeutic intervention, as shown by numerous controlled studies. Such interventions, with early screening and periodic examination, are even more crucial given the increasing survival of patients with diabetic retinopathy. In the 1950s, adjusted 5-year survival rates for patients with PDR were less than 30%, whereas by the end of the century age- and sex-adjusted 5-year survival rates approached 90% for patients with early-onset diabetes and 60% for patients with late-onset diabetes [83]. Furthermore, advances in our understanding of diabetic retinopathy have led to biochemical adjuncts that offer the potential for further reduction of visual loss caused by diabetic macular edema. Despite such advances, the implementation of effective treatments has been hampered by concerns over hypoglycemia after intensive insulin regimens, poor physician compliance regarding guidelines for dilated ophthalmic examinations, and economic barriers to access [84]. Therefore, it is imperative for the ophthalmologist not only to discuss the progression and treatment of diabetic macular edema and the importance of routine examination with patients but also to work with other health care professionals to ensure the evaluation and treatment of associated cardiovascular and neurologic disease. Educational programs, such as those created by the National Eye Health and Education Program [85], may also assist the ophthalmologist in providing patients with the optimal care available in the 21st century.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Retinopathy / complications*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / therapy
  • Humans
  • Macular Edema / complications*
  • Macular Edema / diagnosis
  • Macular Edema / therapy
  • Vision Disorders / etiology