Understanding Cystoid Macular Edema (CME)
“When blood vessels in your eye leak fluid into the central part of your eye, it’s called cystoid Mace. This can cause your eye to swell. Swelling is called edema.”
Your macula is a part of your retina, which is a layer of tissue at the back of your eye. It’s the part of your eye that helps you see color and fine detail.
Over time, macular edema can cause blurry vision and can even lead to central vision loss. Central vision is what you can see when you are looking straight ahead.
Diabetes and age-related macular degeneration are the most common causes of Maceo-Malformation. Read on to learn more about the causes and symptoms of the disease.
Macular edema happens when fluid leaks into your eye. The fluid comes from damaged blood vessels.
There are several factors that can cause damaged blood vessels.
- Diabetes. Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a complication of diabetes and the most common cause of vision issues for adults under 65 years old. DME results from a diabetes-related eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar can increase someone’s chances of developing diabetic retinopathy and cause damage to the blood vessels in your retina.
- Eye surgery. Your risk for macular edema increases after any type of eye surgery, including surgery for glaucoma, cataracts, or retinal disease. Macular edema that occurs after eye surgery is normally mild and temporary.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a common eye condition that causes central vision loss. One type of AMD, wet AMD, is caused by a growth of abnormal blood vessels in your retina that then leak into your macula and cause damage. This can also cause macular edema.
- Blocked retinal blood vessels. Inflammation, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or other conditions can sometimes block retinal blood vessels. When this happens, blood doesn’t drain correctly and can leak into your retina. That fluid can then leak into your macula and cause macular edema.
- Swelling in your retina. Multiple inflammatory diseases can lead to swelling of your retina and macula. These diseases can break down your macula tissue and lead to eye damage.
- Aging. As your eye ages, the gel between your eye lens and retina — called the vitreous — begins to detach. Sometimes, it doesn’t detach fully and will pull on the macula. This can lead to swelling and scar tissue.
- Genetic conditions. Some genetic conditions, such as retinoschisis, can cause macular edema.
- Eye tumors. Both cancerous and benign eye tumors can cause macular edema.
- Eye injuries. An injury to your eye can lead to macular edema.
“Macular edema doesn’t cause pain.”
You might not notice vision changes at first. But when symptoms occur, they often include:
- blurry central vision
- The central vision is wavy.
- The colors look washed out.
- Difficult reading
- Double vision.
- eye floaters (dark spots in your vision)
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor. Some of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, but they can also be caused by Mace-au-lait.
An eye doctor will likely perform a series of tests to confirm a diagnosis of macular edema. They will often begin with a thorough eye exam and discuss your health history.
They may do several tests after that.
- Visual acuity. A visual acuity test involves reading an eye chart. You’ll read letters of various sizes to test the strength of your vision.
- Dilated eye exam. A dilated eye exam is done using special eye drops that widen your pupils. This allows an eye doctor to see your retina more clearly.
- Amsler grid. An Amsler grid is a visual test where you look at a grid and say whether you see the lines of the grid as straight or wavy.
- Fluorescein angiogram. This test is performed by injecting a dye into your arm. The dye travels through your blood vessels and helps highlight damaged blood vessels in your eye. A camera is then used to take pictures of your eye and the highlighted blood vessels.
- Optical coherence tomography. This test uses a specialized light and camera to take detailed images of the cellular layers of your retina.
The treatment for your eye disease depends on the underlying cause and extent of the damage.
Maceo edema can be temporary and even resolve on its own when it is caused by injury or surgery.
Mace is progressive if it is the cause of diabetes or inflammatory eye conditions. If it is caught early, vision loss caused by macular edema can be reversed. Treatment can stop the progression of the disease.
People with diabetes and others with an increased risk of the disease should have their eyes dilated. It is more manageable and even reversible if doctors spot it early on.
Common treatments include:
- Anti-VEGF injections. Anti-VEGF injections are the most common treatment for macular edema. These treatments stop the growth of blood vessels in your eyes. This slows down macular edema and prevents further damage.
- Anti-inflammatory treatments. Anti-inflammatory treatments can reduce swelling in the eye caused by inflammatory eye disease. Corticosteroids in the form of eye drops, pills, or injections are the most common anti-inflammatories used for macular edema.
- Vitrectomy. A vitrectomy can be performed when macular edema is caused by the vitreous tugging on the macula. This surgical procedure removes the vitreous so that it’s no longer straining the macula.
Diabetes, inflammatory eye conditions, and eye aging are some of the conditions that can cause macula edema. The most effective treatment options for you will be determined by the cause of your macular edema.
If you have any unusual eye symptoms, it is important to see an eye doctor. Vision loss can be prevented with early treatment.