Cystoid Macular Edema

Cystoid macular edema is a condition that involves swelling in the macula, the center part of the retina that gives us the vision to see objects with great detail. This swelling occurs as fluid builds up in the layers of the macula, gradually blurring vision.

What causes cystoid macular edema?

Many cases of cystoid macular edema develop in patients who have had recent eye surgery, such as cataract surgery, as well as patients with diabetic retinopathy, uveitis and retinal vascular disease. In patients who develop this following cataract surgery, the normal post-operative inflammation may cause the blood vessels in the center part of the retina to start to leak. As leakage occurs, the tissues begin to swell, which can lead to blurred or distorted vision.

How does cystoid macular edema affect vision?

While this condition does not cause any pain for most patients, it causes increasingly blurry vision, especially when reading. This usually occurs about two to eight weeks after cataract 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.

What are the treatment options for cystoid macular edema?

After symptoms of cystoid macular edema are present, your doctor may perform a fluorescein angiogram and/or an optical coherence tomogram (OCT) to confirm the diagnosis and begin the proper treatment.

Treatment for cystoid macular edema depends 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
  • Ocular bevacizumab (Avastin) injections
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Surgery to remove excess fluid from the eye (vitrectomy)

Most patients experience significant improvements to their vision after one or more of these treatment options. 

Cystoid Macular Edema Photos (2)

Cystoid Macular Edema
Cystoid macular edema with area of swelling marked.

Cystoid Macular Edema Videos (1)

Macular Edema - Overview