The macula is the part of the retina that helps us see fine detail, faraway objects, and color. Macular edema happens when abnormal fluid builds up in the macula, making it swell. It is typically caused by increased leakage from damaged retinal blood vessels or growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina.
It’s a painless condition and usually asymptomatic in the early stages. Patients may later develop
Anyone with diabetes should have their eyes checked annually, at the least.
People with family history or underlying genetic condition can have a yearly eye examination.
A routine dilated fundus examination by the ophthalmologist aids in the diagnosis. Further tests can be ordered to document and measure the thickness of the macula.
First and foremost is addressing the underlying cause of the macular edema, and the related leakage and retinal swelling.
Treatment can include:
Topical NSAIDS: Non Steroidal anti inflammatory drugs can be given as eye drops to cure the swelling.
Steroid treatment: When macular edema is caused by inflammation, steroids can be given either as drops,tablets or as injections into the eye.
Intravitreal injections: Anti Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor( Anti-VEGF)medicines given as intravitreal injections into the eye helps to reduce the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina, and also decreases leaking from blood vessels.
Laser treatment: With this tiny laser pulses are applied to the areas of fluid leakage around the macula. The goal is to stabilize vision by sealing off leaking blood vessels
Vitrectomy surgery: When macular edema is caused by vitreous pulling on the macula, a procedure called a vitrectomy may be needed to restore the macula to its normal (lying flat) shape.
Written by: Dr. Karpagam – Chairman, Education Committee
The macular edema may take up to a month to approximately four months to go away.
If left untreated, chronic macular edema can lead to irreversible damage of the macula and permanent vision loss. Otherwise macular edema is treatable.
Rarely, macular edema will go away on its own. However, if you have symptoms of macular edema, it’s important that you see an ophthalmologist right away. If left untreated, macular edema can cause severe vision loss and even blindness. There are several treatment options available for macular edema.
Macular edema is reversible in the early stages but chronic edema may lead to irreversible changes in the retina.