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Cystoid Macular Edema: Causes

Macular Edema.pngCystoid macular edema is a painless condition which affects the central retina or macula. The front of the eye contains a lens that focuses images on the inside of the back surface of the eye. This surface, called the retina and it consists of special nerve cells that react to light. In the center of the retina is the macula. The macula makes up the center of our vision and is the most critical area for our best visual acuity (sharpness). Sometimes the macula becomes swollen with fluid. When any tissue of the body becomes swollen with fluid, the condition is called edema. When this happens to the macula, the edema fluid typically combines in cyst-like patterns; this condition is called cystoid macular edema. The swelling may distort a person’s central vision, because the macula provides sharp, clear, central vision.

There are many known causes of cystoid macular edema. These include:

Cystoid macular edema is commonly associated with diabetes. Chronic or uncontrolled type 2 diabetes can affect peripheral blood vessels including those of the retina which may leak fluid, blood and occasionally fats into the retina causing it to swell.

Age-related macular degeneration may cause macular edema. As individuals age there may be a natural deterioration in the macula which can lead to the depositing of drusen under the retina sometimes with the formation of abnormal blood vessels.

Replacement of the lens during cataract treatment may cause pseudophakic macular edema (pseudophakia means replacement lens) also known as Irvine-Gass syndrome. The surgery involved sometimes irritates the retina (and other parts of the eye) causing the capillaries in the retina to dilate and leak fluid into the retina.

Chronic uveitis and intermediate uveitis can also be a cause of macular edema.

Blockage of a vein in the retina can cause engorgement of the other retinal veins causing them to leak fluid under or into the retina. The blockage may be caused, among other things, by high blood pressure and glaucoma.

A number of drugs can cause changes in the retina that can lead to macular edema. The effect of each drug is variable and some drugs have a lesser role in causation.

A few congenital diseases are known to be associated with macular edema such as retinitis pigmentosa and retinoschisis.

There are treatment options available for cystoid macular edema depending on the severity of the condition and the individual patient. It is important to see an eye doctor if you have blurry vision or other symptoms of macular edema. To schedule an examination with one of our retinal specialists in Phoenix, contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or today.