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Macular Edema Treatment at Elman Retina Group
While macular degeneration may be the most infamous macular disorder, macular edema, which sometimes occurs alongside it, can also obscure your central visual field. This swelling of the macular tissue can respond to any of several treatment methods, depending on the underlying cause -- and Elman Retina Group can provide those treatments.
Understanding Macular Edema
The macula may be a small part of the retina, but it performs a big role in good eyesight. This area is responsible for receiving visual data related to your center of vision -- that all-important zone you use to read write, watch movies, focus on objects directly in front of you and identify faces. Macular edema is a condition in which bleeding underneath the retina causes the macula to swell up. The swelling interferes with its ability to do its job, leaving with with blurred central vision. Macular edema can be present in one or both eyes.
Causes and Symptoms
The blood vessel leakage that produces macular edema is most commonly associated with a condition called diabetic retinopathy. Elevated blood sugar can damage blood vessel walls, allowing fluids to leak into the macular tissues. The "wet" form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can also cause macular edema due to the proliferation of new, fragile blood vessels which are prone to leakage. Other underlying health issues can sometimes lead to macular edema. These may include:
- Inflammatory diseases such as uveitis, cytomegalovirus infection, toxoplasmosis or sarcodoisis
- Complications from recent eye surgery
- Blood vessel blockage due to hypertension, atherosclerosis or glaucoma
Available Treatments for Macular Edema
Treatment of macular edema usually requires treatment of whatever underlying condition is encouraging the blood leakage. If you suffer from diabetes, for example, it is critical for you and your primary health provider to work on normalizing your blood sugar levels. If an inflammatory disorder is at work, our ophthalmology team may prescribe strong anti-inflammatory medications. These usually take the form of corticosteroid eye drops or injections. Severe cases may call for the implantation of continuous-release corticosteroids in or near the eye.
If an overgrowth of leaky blood vessels is causing your macular edema, anti-VGEF injections can help combat this trend. We can numb the eye with an anesthetic and then inject it with drugs that inhibit a particular substance called VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), a critical factor in blood vessel formation.
If the vitreous humor that fills the eyeball is pulling on the macula in a manner that creates macular edema, or if it is clouded with blood from blood vessel leakage, a vitrectomy may be in order. This procedure removes the vitreous humor entirely, replacing it with saline solution.
Elman Retina Group Is Ready to Help
Macular edema can be treated -- and the sooner you arrange for it, the brighter your ocular future will look. Call the Rosedale, Glen Burnie or Pikesville office of Elman Retina Group to schedule an evaluation and treatment!