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Cystoid Macular Edema


Cystoid macular edema, also known as CME, is a swelling of the macula with fluid. The macula is responsible for the detailed, central vision that provides the ability to see objects with great detail. Swelling occurs as fluid builds up in the layers of the macula, gradually blurring vision.

Causes of Cystoid Macular Edema

Most cases of cystoid macular edema develop when blood vessels in the retina begin leak fluid. Patients who have cystoid macular edema may have the following contributing factors towards the condition:

  • Recent eye surgery, such as cataract surgery
  • Diabetes
  • Uveitis
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Medication
  • Family history
  • Glaucoma
  • Trauma
  • Retinal vascular disease

As swelling occurs, vision is affected. Peripheral vision, the side vision, remains unaffected.

While this condition does not usually cause pain for most patients, it can cause some of the following:

  • Increasingly blurry vision, especially when reading
  • Decreased central vision
  • Vision that is wavy
  • Decreased perception of colors
  • Retinal swelling or inflammation

For patients who have had cataract surgery, cystoid macular edema usually occurs about two to eight weeks after surgery. Vision may also be distorted, with straight lines appearing wavy, and may be tinted pink as well. Peripheral vision is usually not affected by this condition.

Diagnosis of Cystoid Macular Edema

After symptoms of cystoid macular edema are present, your doctor may perform a series of diagnostic tests to confirm diagnosis. They may include:

  • Fluorescein angiogram
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Dilated eye examination

While this disease can be detected by your doctor before symptoms are present, it is usually very difficult to detect.

Treatment for Cystoid Macular Edema

Treatment for cystoid macular edema will vary depending on the severity and cause of the condition and the individual patient. Treatment may involve:

  • Ocular eye drops
  • Ocular injections
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Diuretics
  • Vitrectomy surgery

Most patients experience significant improvements to their vision after one or more of these treatment options, with full recovery taking several months.


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