Macular Disease Foundation Australia logo

    About diabetic macular oedema

    DMO is the most common reason that people with diabetic eye disease lose their vision.

    Lady sitting on a chair with knitting needles and a red ball of wool

    What is diabetic macular oedema?

    Diabetic macular oedema (DMO) is a complication of diabetic retinopathy (DR). You may also see it referred to as diabetic macular edema (DME).

    DMO occurs when the damaged blood vessels leak fluid and cause swelling of the macula. The macula is the area of the retina that is responsible for detailed central vision.

    DMO can occur at any stage once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy.

    DMO is the most common reason that people with diabetic retinopathy lose their vision. And your risk of getting DMO is related to how well you control your diabetes.

    Symptoms of DMO

    Early diabetic macular oedema may have no symptoms. It can cause progressive damage to your macula before you even notice any changes in your vision. That’s why you should have regular eye exams once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes.

    Early treatment of DMO can help save your sight.

    If you do notice symptoms, the primary symptom of DMO is blurry or wavy central vision. DMO often impacts both eyes. If only one is affected, you may not notice any blurriness until the disease is well advanced.

    You might also notice that colours appear washed out or faded. You might see dark spots or gaps in your vision.

    If you have any symptoms, whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with diabetic eye disease of any kind, you should get your eyes checked straight away. Sudden changes in your vision could be an eye emergency.

    Get the fact sheet

    Information on diabetic macular oedema is available as a fact sheet to download. You can also order a printed copy to be sent to you.