What Is Macular Edema?
The macula, located in the central region of the retina, is responsible for clear and central vision. When fluid accumulates in the macula and causes swelling, it is referred to as macular edema.
Symptoms of Macular Edema:
Macular edema disrupts the normal functioning of the macula, leading to various symptoms, including:
- Reduced visual acuity
- Distorted central vision
- Color distortion
The severity and duration of symptoms can vary. Sudden fluid accumulation may result in immediate impact on vision, while in some cases, the fluid buildup can occur slowly over years, with signs becoming noticeable only when the edema has significantly progressed.
Causes of Macular Edema:
Macular edema can be caused by any disease or condition that damages the body's blood vessels, leading to fluid or blood leakage. Some common causes include:
- Diabetic Macular Edema (DME): DME is a prevalent cause of macular swelling and is associated with diabetic retinopathy, a retinal disease specific to individuals with diabetes. Elevated blood sugar levels weaken the blood vessels in the retina, making them more permeable and prone to fluid or blood leakage. DME usually affects both eyes and worsens with uncontrolled blood sugar levels. It is a leading cause of blindness in diabetic retinopathy patients and can occur at any stage of diabetes.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): AMD occurs due to the breakdown of the macula, often associated with aging. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina and may leak blood or fluid into the macula. Wet AMD affects approximately 200,000 new cases annually in the United States.
- Eye Surgery: Macular edema can occur as a result of eye surgeries, including cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery, or procedures to treat retinal diseases. Surgical interventions inside the eye can exert pressure on delicate retinal blood vessels, leading to damage and fluid leakage.
- Retinal Vein Occlusion: Retinal vein occlusion happens when the veins in the retina become blocked. It is a common cause of vision loss related to retinal vascular disease, affecting over 1.1 million Americans. The blocked vein disrupts fluid drainage, causing fluid buildup in the macula. The severity of macular edema depends on the number of blocked vessels, blood pressure within the vessels, and the degree of blockage. Conditions associated with retinal vein occlusion include diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and glaucoma.
- Uveitis: Uveitis refers to a group of inflammatory eye diseases that cause swelling within the eye and damage healthy ocular tissue. Macular edema is a common cause of vision loss associated with uveitis.
Treatment of Macular Edema:
Treatment for macular edema depends on the underlying cause. Addressing the underlying health condition, such as controlling blood sugar or managing hypertension, is essential in stabilizing, reducing, or eliminating macular swelling. Treatment options may include laser therapy to seal leaking blood vessels in the retina or medication injections into the vitreous humor to inhibit abnormal blood vessel growth. In cases of eye inflammation, anti-inflammatory medications in the form of eye drops, pills, or injections may be prescribed.
Our Practice's Approach:
At Child & Family Eye Care, we are committed to maintaining the health of your eyes, including the treatment of macular edema and related conditions. With state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, we strive to achieve the best possible outcomes. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with macular edema or is experiencing symptoms, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our practice.
We proudly serve patients from The Woodlands, Magnolia, Shenandoah, and Tomball, Texas, as well as the surrounding communities. Our team of experts specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of various eye conditions, including macular edema.
During your consultation, we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your macular edema. If necessary, we may refer you to an ophthalmologist or retinal specialist for further investigations and treatment.
We understand the importance of personalized care, and our experienced professionals will work closely with you to develop a tailored treatment plan. This may involve addressing any underlying health conditions contributing to macular edema, such as diabetes or hypertension, to help stabilize and reduce the swelling.
If intervention directly targeting the macular edema is required, we offer advanced treatment options. These may include laser therapy, which can effectively seal leaking blood vessels in the retina, or medication injections into the vitreous humor to inhibit abnormal blood vessel growth and reduce fluid accumulation.
Our practice also provides support for patients with eye inflammation-related macular edema. Our knowledgeable team can prescribe appropriate anti-inflammatory medications in the form of eye drops, pills, or injections to alleviate the swelling.
At Child & Family Eye Care, we prioritize your eye health and aim to provide the best possible outcomes for our patients. If you have been diagnosed with macular edema or have noticed any signs or symptoms, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our practice. Together, we can create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Contact us today to book an appointment and take the first step towards preserving your vision. Our practice proudly serves individuals from The Woodlands, Magnolia, Shenandoah, Tomball, and the surrounding areas.