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What Is Macular Edema?

The macula is in the center of your retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye, and it helps you see fine details and colors at a higher resolution than any camera can provide. When fluid builds up or blood vessels leak in the retina, it’s referred to as macular edema, and this swelling can distort your vision.

With macular edema, colors appear washed out and vision may be blurry. As more blood vessels leak or rupture, the risk of serious, permanent vision loss increases. There are many conditions that can cause blood vessels to swell or fluid to leak into the retina and cause macular edema, including:

Symptoms & Treatment

Macular edema is painless and doesn’t typically cause noticeable symptoms in the beginning stages of the condition. When symptoms do begin to occur, they are an indication that the blood vessels in the eye may be leaking. Common symptoms of macular edema include:

  • Blurred or distorted central vision
  • Colors appear faded or different
  • Increased difficulty reading

To diagnose macular edema, an ophthalmologist will dilate your pupils so that he or she can examine the back of your eye. Should macular edema be detected, treatment will require addressing the underlying cause of the leakage and retinal swelling. Depending on what’s causing it, treatment for macular edema may include:

  • Medication injections called anti-VEGF drugs to reduce abnormal blood vessels.
  • Steroid treatments to reduce inflammation, in the form of eye drops, pills, or injections.
  • Eye-drop medication for cystoid macular edema, which can occur after cataract surgery.
  • Laser treatment to seal leaking blood vessels.
  • Vitrectomy surgery to remove leakage and scar tissue from the retina.

Depending on the underlying cause of macular edema and the treatment plan your ophthalmologist recommends, it may take may take several months to resolve the condition. During this time period, it’s crucial to follow the treatment plan that your ophthalmologist has recommended so that treatment is effective and further vision loss is prevented.

If you are experiencing blurry vision or have had more difficulty reading, schedule a consultation with an eye doctor at Baptist Eye Surgeons. Baptist Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmological practice in Knoxville, TN, and Morristown, TN, dedicated to providing quality eye care to patients whose needs range from routine comprehensive eye examinations to complex eye surgeries. To meet our doctors and learn more about our specialities, visit our website, or give us a call at 865-579-3920 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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