Eye conditions that affect the retina can lead to severe and permanent vision loss or blindness. Access to early treatment can prevent these consequences and ensure improved eye health.
Keep reading to find out if there are warning signs with macular edema!
Are There Any Warning Signs of Macular Edema?
At the earliest stage, macular edema has no warning signs. But as the condition progresses, you may experience:
- Blurred vision
- Faded colors
- Floaters and flashes
- Difficulty reading
Since the disease affects the macula, most visual disturbances will appear in your central vision. That means your peripheral vision will remain clear.
What is Macular Edema?
Macular edema is a condition characterized by the buildup of fluid in your macula. The macula is at the center of the retina.
It has a high concentration of photoreceptor cells that enable clear central vision. When fluid collects here, vision becomes blurred. Because vision becomes blurry, it also affects the perception of color.
What Causes Macular Edema?
The fluid in the macula comes from leaking blood vessels that can be damaged as a result of the following:
High blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the eyes and make them easy to burst. This is called diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic macula edema affects 12% of Type 1 diabetic patients. It is the leading cause of blindness in young adults in developed countries.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD causes weak abnormal blood vessels to grow beneath the retina. When these blood vessels leak, the fluid collects in the macula and causes swelling.
This is a layer of scar tissue that forms on the macula due to the vitreous still being partially attached. Because of tugging on macular tissue, fluids leak and collect underneath the scarred area.
How is Macular Edema Diagnosed?
Your ophthalmologist can make a macular edema diagnosis using the following eye tests:
Dilated Eye Exam
For a dilated eye exam, your eye doctor will use dilating eye drops to increase the size of your pupil. This allows your ophthalmologist to examine the retina.
Examining the retina allows them to observe any leakage or swelling in the macula.
Optical Coherence Tomography
Here, the ophthalmologist will use a machine to scan your retina. This will provide detailed images that show thickness inconsistencies, swelling, and find leakages.
A yellow dye is injected into a vein in the arm. When it travels through the blood vessels into the eye, it shows areas with leakage.
What is the Treatment for Macular Edema?
The treatment for macular edema varies according to the cause. Treatment includes eye drops, injections, and pills.
Management of blood pressure and blood sugar levels can also help in treatment. The aim of treatment is to stop leakage, swelling, or the growth of abnormal vessels, as is the case in diabetic retinopathy.
Treatment at Joshi Eye Institute
At Joshi Eye Institute, we offer a procedure called a vitrectomy. Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the vitreous humor. This addresses issues such as macular puckers.
It also enables our ophthalmologist to access the retina to treat other conditions affecting the macula. We recommend that patients get checked by their eye doctor as soon as they experience any changes in their central vision.
This will help to diagnose and treat macular edema early before it progresses. Early treatment is the key to saving the remaining vision.
Concerned about macular edema or other retinal conditions? Schedule an appointment at Joshi Eye Institute in Boynton Beach, FL!