What is macular oedema?
Macular oedema is an eye disease that causes fluid to build up in the macula, the part of the eye that provides clear, sharp vision. As this is a very sensitive and important area of the eye, when this accumulation of fluid occurs, vision is lost and objects are observed in a distorted way. It may also affect only certain parts of the eye or the entire macular. It is a pathology associated with diabetic patients, as it is one of the main visual problems they suffer from.
The prognosis is very variable in each situation, and in all cases it is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist specialising in retinas to make an accurate diagnosis and the most convenient treatment.
Symptoms of macular oedema:
The symptoms of macular oedema affect central vision, causing:
- Blurred vision
- Distortion of the lines
If it is not treated properly, the patient may have very limited central vision.
Medical tests for macular oedema:
The most common method of diagnosing whether or not a patient has macular oedema is a stereoscopic clinical examination with a biomicroscope or slit lamp. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to use additional imaging tests:
- Optical coherence tomography
- Fluorescein angiography
What causes macular oedema?
There are many causes that can lead to macular oedema, but it is often associated with diabetes.
Also, eye surgery may increase the risk of developing macular oedema due to irritation of the blood vessels that may allow fluid to leak out. A macular oedema that develops after cataract surgery is called cystic macular oedema (CME).
Other causes of macular oedema include:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Blockage in the small veins of the retina
- Injuries to the eye
- Side effects of certain medications
- Some eye tumours
- Certain genetic disorders, such as a form of macular dystrophy
Can macular oedema be prevented?
Good control of predisposing factors, such as diabetes or high blood pressure is essential.
Treatments for macular oedema
Treatment of macular oedema will depend on the cause and the degree of progression. The following are possible treatments for macular oedema:
- Drug treatment with eye drops, or intraocular and periocular injections, aimed at sealing fluid leaks from the macula.
- Laser photocoagulation of the points in the blood vessels where the loss of fluid that accumulates in the macula alters its function.
- Vitrectomy surgery : this treatment is used in the most severe cases.
Which specialist treats macular oedema?
Ophthalmologists are responsible for preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases that affect the patient's eyes and visual capacity, such as macular degeneration.