Macular Edema

What is Macular Edema?

Macular Edema is a swelling of the macula in the central part of the retina of the eye, located at the back of the eye. It is a result of an accumulation of fluid, which can happen under multiple conditions and can lead to vision problems. These can range from clumping of the macula to changes in colour perception.

The macula is a small area of the retina responsible for the central part of our vision. It controls our ability to see fine details, to recognize colours, or to distinguish objects from backgrounds. When the macula becomes swollen, the ability to have clear vision is drastically reduced.

Causes of Macular Edema

The cause of Macular Edema can vary, but typically it has some relationship to an issue with the blood vessels of the eye. Some of the conditions that can lead to macular edema are:

  • Diabetic Retinopathy – the most common type of macular edema, it occurs as a complication of diabetes.
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion – an obstruction of one of the blood vessels in the retina.
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration – a progressive degenerative disease of the macula caused by ageing.
  • Central Serous Retinopathy - a condition caused by leakage of fluid from the under layers of the retina.

Symptoms of Macular Edema

The most common symptom of macular edema is blurred vision. Other symptoms may include:

  • Dark spots or distortion in the center of vision.
  • Difficulty seeing fine detail.
  • Problems distinguishing colors.

Treatment of Macular Edema

The treatment of Macular Edema depends on its cause. Common treatments include:

  • Steroid medications: Intravitreal or epidural injections of corticosteroid medications can be used to reduce swelling.
  • Laser surgery: Laser surgery can be used to occlude leaking blood vessels and to reduce dihorrea.
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Inhibitors: Intravitreal injections of agents that reduce new blood vessel growth may be used to reduce swelling.
  • Vitrectomy: This surgery removes the vitreous gel from the eye, allowing fresh fluid to enter and reduce swelling.
  • Oral medications: Certain oral medication may reduce inflammation and swelling associated with macular edema.