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Cystoid Macular Edema

What is Cystoid Macular Edema?

The macula is responsible for the sharp central vision required to read, drive, sew, or recognise a face. Macular edema refers to the swelling or thickening of the macula, the central part of the retina (light receptive tissue of the eye). When fluid swells the macula, it typically does so in cyst-like patterns and this condition is referred to as cystoid macular edema.

What are the Causes of Cystoid Macular Edema?

Cystoid macular edema can occur due to many reasons including:

  • Diabetes
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Blockage in veins of the retina
  • Eye inflammation
  • Eye injury
  • Medication side effects
  • Eye surgery such as cataract surgery

What are the Symptoms of Cystoid Macular Edema?

Cystoid macular edema may be asymptomatic in some cases. Typical symptoms include:

  • Blurred or wavy vision
  • Changes in color perception

How is Cystoid Macular Edema Diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnosis cystoid macular edema with the following tests:

  • Dilated Retinal Exam: A special lens is used to see the macula and identify the cysts.
  • Fluorescein Angiography: The test uses a special dye to illuminate areas of the retina to evaluate the blood vessels.
  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): It is a non-invasive test that uses a laser camera to capture pictures of the retina, measure its thickness, and detect swelling and fluid accumulation.

What are the Treatments for Cystoid Macular Edema?

Treatment involves finding the underlying cause of cystoid macular edema. Depending on the underlying condition, treatment options may include:

  • Topical and oral medications: Anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids administered in various forms from eye drops to injection. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or diuretics, may also be beneficial in some cases.
  • Intravitreal (inside an eye) injections: Anti-VEGF also referred to as anti-vascular endothelial growth factor involves the injection of a specific group of medicines known as anti-VEGF drugs to prevent abnormal blood vessel growth that could further damage the eye.
  • Laser procedure: This involves the use of laser beams that are directed at the macula to eliminate macular edema.
  • Surgery: Vitrectomy surgery to remove excess fluid from the eye may be recommended.

Prognosis for Cystoid Macular Oedema Treatment

Cystoid macular edema usually has an excellent prognosis with the majority of cases responding to medical treatment. In many cases, the treatment of cystoid macular edema stops or slows down disease progression and restores vision. Some cases that become chronic can lead to permanent loss of vision. However, even if treatment is unsuccessful, or causes damage to the macula, the peripheral or side vision is usually not affected.

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