What Causes Macular Edema? 5 Ways You May Be at Risk

Submitted by Elman Retina Group on August 24, 2022
Macular Edema Specialist Owings Mills, MD

Your overall health can actually impact your eye health and put you at risk for a number of eye conditions, including macular edema.

Elman Retina Group’s premier ophthalmologists, Dr. Michael Elman and Dr. Sidney “Sid” Schechet, are skilled at diagnosing and treating macular edema. Below our doctors will discuss macular edema and five conditions that may increase your risk.

Macular Edema

Your eye has a lot of different parts. Each part plays an important role in your vision. At the back of your eye is a thin layer of tissue called the retina. At the center of your retina is the macula.

The macula plays an important role in your central vision. Issues with your macula can impact your ability to see and focus on objects directly in front of you. This can make it hard for you to read and write, watch movies or even recognize faces.

Edema is another word for swelling. Macular edema means macular swelling. It is the result of fluid buildup and impacts your vision. Macular edema can have a number of causes.

1. Diabetes

Diabetes is a prevalent health concern in the United States. Diabetes that is poorly controlled can result in a number of health issues, including diabetic macular edema. If you have diabetes, you are at risk for developing diabetic macular edema. If you have diabetes and notice vision changes, you should contact an eye doctor immediately. An experienced eye doctor will be able to diagnose the underlying cause of your vision problem and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

2. Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration refers to a disease primarily affecting the macula. There are two main kinds of age-related macular degeneration: dry and wet. Wet macular degeneration is less common, but more serious. It occurs when new and abnormal blood vessels develop beneath the retina and leak blood or fluid into the macula, causing swelling. This condition can progress quickly and lead to vision loss. Regular, comprehensive eye exams are crucial to early diagnosis and treatment.

3. Irvine-Gass Syndrome

Irvine-Gass syndrome refers to a cystoid macular edema that can develop after cataract surgery. While painless, it can lead to blurred vision and even vision loss. Some patients may be at an increased risk for Irvine-Gass syndrome. Your eye doctor should discuss your risks with you prior to cataract surgery.

4. Retinal Vein Occlusion

Retinal vein occlusion is a condition in which the tiny veins of the retina become blocked. When the blocked blood vessels cause fluid to leak into the macula, macular edema can occur. Symptoms of retinal vein occlusion are often described as painless blurring or loss of vision. It is often associated with poorly-controlled high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other diseases in the body.

5. High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, you are at an increased risk of developing macular edema. You should speak to your eye doctor about your health condition and any current treatments.

Schedule Your Eye Exam Today

Regular eye exams are crucial to diagnosing and treating macular edema. You can depend on the experts at Elman Retina Group to provide a comprehensive eye exam. Please call or email us today to schedule your eye exam.