When any area of the body becomes swollen with fluid this is known as an edema. When this happens in the macula it is known as Cystoid Macular Edema (CME). This painless disorder that affects the central part of the retina typically creates multiple cyst-like (cystoids) areas of fluid that cause the retina to swell.
Causes of Cystoid Macular Edema
The exact cause of CME is so far unknown, but it is known to accompany other eye diseases such as retinal vein occlusion and uveitis. It most commonly appears after a patient has had cataracts surgery but is also known to appear as a result of retinal detachment surgery, also. Other causes include age-related macular degeneration, blockage in the small arteries or veins of the retina, inflammation of the eye, eye injury, diabetes, and a side affect of a medication.
Up to three percent of those who have cataracts surgery will develop vision loss within one year of surgery due to cystoid macular edema. Typically, if this occurs it will happen between two and four months after surgery. There is also a fifty percent chance that if one eye develops CME the other will too. However, with treatment most patients are able to recover their eyesight.
Symptoms of Cystoid Macular Edema
- Blurred or decreased central vision
- Painless retinal inflammation or swelling
- Colors may appear different in affected eye.
Treatment of Cystoid Macular Edema
The treatment for CME can vary depending on the symptoms and what underlying problem led to it. For instance for retinal inflammation, cortisone, indomethacin, or some other anti-inflammtory medication may be used. Usually, these will be administered as eye drops, but can also be given as an injection or taken by mouth or as a diuretic if necessary.
One other possibility is that the vitreous in the eye may have pulled on the macula leading to the CME. This could called for a vitrectomy surgery, which would remove the gel from the eye.
Treatment can take several weeks or months, but in almost all cases vision loss is returned after the correct treatment has given.