The macula is part of the eye’s retina and is centrally located in the back of the eye. The primary function of the macula is to ensure seeing fine details clearly, which is especially important when driving or reading. If you notice that your vision has become wavy, objects look like they’re different sizes when covering up one eye, or colors start to become dull or faded, then you might be experiencing macular edema.
Macular edema occurs when blood vessels leak fluids, causing a build-up of fluids in your retina. This abnormal build-up leads the macula to swell, thus causing blurry and distorted vision. You might notice that it has become difficult to read, drive, or see faces clearly. The severity of macular edema symptoms varies from patient to patient; some might experience the onset of mild blurriness in their vision, while others might experience severe central vision loss. The symptoms are typically painless but performing daily tasks can become difficult.
There are many risk factors for developing macular edema. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Trauma to the eye
- Recent eye surgery
- Certain medications
- Wet age-related macular degeneration
- Hereditary conditions (retinitis pigmentosa)
- Uveitis, or inflammation of the eye
- Diabetes and high blood pressure
- Epiretinal membranes
Anything that causes inflammation in the eye, can lead to the growth of more blood vessels, or can cause more fluid to leak all contribute to the possibility of developing macular edema.
In order to determine if your symptoms result from macular edema, your retinal specialist will perform a dilated eye exam. During this exam, they will dilate your pupils so they can see the retina in the back of your eye. For a more detailed look, they might use an OCT machine to find the leakage and measure the swelling or perform a fluorescein angiography. Fluorescein angiography is a dye that is injected into your vein that allows your ophthalmologist to see if any blood vessels are leaking and, if so, how much.
The type and treatment required depends on the macular edema’s cause and the leakage’s severity. Your ophthalmologist might recommend any of the following:
- Laser treatment
- Eyedrop medications
- Medication injections
- Steroid treatment
Depending on your ophthalmologist’s plan, treatment could take a few months. For your treatment to be effective, it is important to stay on track with the regimen.
Macular edema is treatable, and vision loss can be treated if dealt with in a timely manner. If you are experiencing blurred, dull, or distorted vision, our ophthalmic retinal specialists, Dr. Burgess, Dr. Lara, and Dr. Villate, can determine if you have macular edema and then administer the best treatment plan for you. Call our office at 954-772-3337 to schedule a consultation.