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Cystoid Macular Edema

What is Cystoid Macular Edema?

Cystoid macular edema (CME) is a condition that involves the accumulation of fluid within the layers of the macula, the central part of the retina that gives us the vision to see fine details. While this condition does not cause any pain for most patients, it reduces central vision and impacts fine visual tasks such as reading. Vision may also be distorted, with straight lines appearing wavy, and color saturation may also be altered. Peripheral vision is usually not affected by this condition.

What causes Cystoid Macular Edema?

In many cases, patients report a history of recent eye surgery, such as cataract surgery. In these patients, post-operative inflammation promotes the leakage of fluid from tiny blood vessels in the macula. Other common causes of CME include diabetic retinopathy, wet age-related macular degeneration, uveitis, and retinal vascular disease. CME can also occur due to mechanical traction from a macular pucker. Less common causes include past exposure to radiation, retinitis pigmentosa, and intraocular tumors.

What are the Treatment Options?

Your doctor may perform a fluorescein angiogram and/or an optical coherence tomogram (OCT) to confirm the diagnosis and begin the proper treatment. Treatment selection is based on the severity of the condition and the individual patient, and may include:

Ocular steroid and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops

Ocular steroid injections

Intravitreal bevacizumab (Avastin) injections

Vitrectomy surgery for rare cases with associated vitreous gel abnormalities that sometimes contribute to the CME

Most patients experience significant vision improvement after one or more of these treatment options. Your surgeon will review the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the treatment options with you and make tailored recommendations based on the unique findings of your eye.

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