What Are DR and DME?

Click on the links below to learn more about DR and DME.

What are diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME)?


Nearly 8 million Americans are affected by DR, which may result in problems with vision. DME is related to DR and also causes vision problems.

  • DR and DME damage the retina (reh‐TIN‐uh), the light‐sensitive part in the back of your eye that gathers images

  • DME occurs when DR affects the macula (MAK‐yu‐lah). The macula is a small indent on the retina that helps you see fine details

Blood Sugar

  • If you have uncontrolled high blood sugar from diabetes, it is important to pay careful attention to your sugar levels and any problems with vision you may experience
  • In DR and DME, uncontrolled high blood sugar may damage the parts of the eye that allow you to see, leading to problems with vision

Healthy Eye

Healthy Eye

When you have DR, you may develop too much of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF. This causes unhealthy blood vessel growth in the eye. These blood vessels can leak and swell, causing vision problems.

Eye With Diabetic Retinopathy

Eye With Diabetic Retinopathy

DR affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina, which lines the back of the eye.

Worsening DR can lead to DME. When a person has DME, the blood vessels in the back of the eye swell, weaken, and leak. This happens in a part of the retina called the macula.

The macula is responsible for sharp, central vision. DME can cause too much fluid to build up in the macula, which can lead to vision changes if left untreated.

Eye With Diabetic Retinopathy

Eye With Diabetic Retinopathy and Eye With DR and DME

Eye With DR and DME

Eye With DME

If you have diabetes and are experiencing problems with your vision, talk to your doctor right away.

What are risk factors for diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema?

Diabetes and uncontrolled high blood sugar may lead to DR or DME. If you do not manage your diabetes and blood sugar, you may increase your risk for problems with vision.

Risk factors for DR and DME include:

Duration of Diabetes
Duration of Diabetes
Blood Sugar
Uncontrolled High Blood Sugar
Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure

Higher rates of DR and DME have been found in people with Black, Hispanic, or Native American ancestry.

Get support from the LUCENTIS Patient Support Program

If you have diabetic retinopathy or diabetic macular edema, join the LUCENTIS Patient Support Program to receive more information and support, including:


The Genentech Ophthalmology Support Line that makes it easy for you to quickly access the information and support you need. Our representatives are available Monday–Friday, 9 am to 8 pm ET.

Phone Support

Call (833) EYE-GENE/(833) 393-4363 and remain on the line for any questions.


Brochures mailed to your home


Emails with tips and resources to help you stay on track

Access Solutions

Information on patient assistance options from Genentech Ophthalmology Access Solutions

Patient Support

LUCENTIS Patient Support Program

Enroll in the LUCENTIS Patient Support Program for resources like live one-on-one phone support, emails, or brochures.

Financial Assistance Options

Financial Assistance Options

There may be options to help you afford LUCENTIS, no matter what type of health insurance you have. Learn about Genentech Ophthalmology Access Solutions.

Important Safety Information & Indication

Who is LUCENTIS for? LUCENTIS® is a prescription medicine for the treatment of patients with diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME).

What important safety information should I know about LUCENTIS? You should not use LUCENTIS if you have an infection in or around the eye or are allergic to LUCENTIS or any of its ingredients. LUCENTIS is a prescription medication given by injection into the eye, and it has side effects. LUCENTIS is not for everyone. Some LUCENTIS patients have had detached retinas and serious eye infections. If your eye becomes red, sensitive to light, or painful, or if you have a change in vision, call or visit your eye doctor right away. 

Some patients have had increased eye pressure before and within 1 hour of an injection. Your eye doctor should check your eye pressure and eye health before and after your LUCENTIS injection. 

Uncommonly, LUCENTIS patients have had serious, sometimes fatal, problems related to blood clots, such as heart attacks or strokes. 

Fatal events were seen more often in patients with DME and DR with LUCENTIS compared with patients who did not receive LUCENTIS. Although there were only few fatal events which included causes of death typical of patients with advanced diabetic complications, these events may be caused by LUCENTIS. 

Some LUCENTIS patients have serious side effects related to the injection. These include serious infections inside the eye, detached retinas, and cataracts. The most common eye-related side effects are increased redness in the white of the eye, eye pain, small specks in vision, and increased eye pressure. The most common non–eye-related side effects are nose and throat infections, anemia, nausea and cough. 

LUCENTIS is for prescription use only.

You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

For additional Safety Information, please talk to your doctor and see the LUCENTIS full Prescribing Information.