Macular edema is a type of swelling inside the retina of the eye.
The best approach to treatment requires addressing the underlying cause of macular edema, and it may include
Medication injections: These are the mainstay for advanced macular edema.
- There are medications called anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drugs, for example, Avastin (bevacizumab).
- Anti-VEGF treatment reduces the abnormal blood vessels in the retina and leaking from the blood vessels.
- This medicine is delivered to your eye through a very slender needle.
- When macular edema is caused by inflammation, a steroid medication may be used.
- These drugs can be given by eye drops, pills or injections.
Eye drops medication
- To prevent macular edema, which can occur after cataract surgery, an ophthalmologist may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops for a few months.
- With this surgery, an ophthalmologist applies many tiny laser pulses to the areas of fluid leakage around the macula.
- The goal is to stabilize vision by sealing off the leaking blood vessels.
- A procedure called a vitrectomy may be needed to restore the macula to its normal (lying flat) shape.
- The surgeon uses tiny instruments to remove the vitreous from the eye and peel the scar tissue from the macula.
- This relieves the traction that is damaging the macula.
Depending on the cause of macular edema and treatment plan your doctor has recommended, macular edema may take several months to resolve. During this time, it is important to follow the treatment regimen that your ophthalmologist recommends for your treatment to be effective.
What is macular edema?
Macular edema occurs when fluid and protein deposits are collected on or under the macula of the eye (a yellow central area of the retina) and cause it to thicken and swell (edema). The swelling may distort central vision. Macular edema is painless and usually doesn’t have symptoms in the initial stages. Do not ever ignore any sign that the blood vessels in your eye may be leaking. Common symptoms of macular edema include
- Blurred or wavy central vision
- Colors appear washed out or different
- Having difficulty reading
If untreated, this can lead to permanent damage and even death of these cells. See an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. If left untreated, macular edema can cause significant loss of central vision, although peripheral (side) vision normally remains intact.
Macular edema is not a disease itself, but is more likely a result of other diseases or eye trauma that cause fluid to build up in the macula and make it swell. Common causes include
- Diabetes: High blood sugar levels weaken blood vessels causing them to leak into the macula.
- Macular degeneration: This is a common cause of sight problems as we get older. Age-related macular degeneration comes in two forms, namely, wet and dry.
- Hereditary/genetic conditions: A common example of this would be retinitis pigmentosa.
- Inflammatory eye diseases: Anything that causes inflammation and swelling in the eye can affect the macula, for example, uveitis.
- Surgery: Macular edema may occur as the result of cataract, glaucoma or retinal surgery.
- Medicines: You must alert your optometrist about any medications you are taking because some can have side effects that cause macular edema.
- Other conditions: These may include blockage in the small veins of the retina, injuries to the eye and some eye tumors.
Rarely, macular edema will go away on its own. However, if you have symptoms of macular edema, you must see an ophthalmologist right away. The prognosis is very variable in each situation. In all cases, it is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist who specializes in retinas to make an accurate diagnosis and provide the most convenient treatment. Macular edema may take several months to resolve. During this time, it is important to follow the treatment regimen that your ophthalmologist recommends for your treatment to be effective.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
National Eye Institute
Top What Is the Best Treatment for Macular Edema Related Articles
Can Diabetic Macular Edema Be Cured?Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a condition that causes fluid accumulation in the macula. Diabetic macular edema can be cured by tackling the underlying medical cause and treating abnormal eye changes caused by the condition.
Cataracts SlideshowCataracts are a painless clouding of the internal lens of the eye. Learn about symptoms like blurry vision, glare and poor night vision, causes, treatment, and cataract surgery.
Vision as You AgeConditions like cataracts, glaucoma, droopy eyelids, age-related macular degeneration, and other eye problems are more common with aging. Problems like floaters may become worse as well. An ophthalmologist can assess for eye diseases and address eye problem symptoms early to maximize the chance of a good outcome.
Eye Mistakes You Might Be MakingYou may be hurting your eyes and not even know it. Find out if you are and what you can do to stop it.
GlaucomaGlaucoma is a common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye rises because of slowed fluid drainage from the eye. If untreated, glaucoma may damage the optic nerve and other parts of the eye, causing the loss of vision or even blindness.
What Is Glaucoma?Glaucoma refers to a variety of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss and sometimes total blindness. Learn how eye pressure contributes to angle-closure glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, and other types. Find out how eye fluid drainage can interfere with intraocular pressure and get treatment and medication information, plus lifestyle tips for managing glaucoma.
How Do You Treat Low Vision?The loss of vision that has already occurred is usually permanent. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery cannot usually cure or reverse low vision. There are certain ways and treatments to help the patient improve and cope with vision loss, perform everyday activities more easily, and keep the vision from getting worse. Treatment options also depend on the eye condition causing low vision.
Retinitis PigmentosaRetinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a genetic condition that causes retinal degeneration and eventual vision loss. Symptoms include night blindness and tunnel vision. Visual field testing and electrophysiological testing are essential in diagnosing RP. Though there is no cure for RP, vitamin A therapy and an omega-3-rich diet may be recommended for patients to slow disease progression.