What Causes Macular Edema?
Macular edema is a condition that affects the retina, the thin layer of tissues at the back of the eye. The primary role of the retina is to process light as it enters the eye, and send signals to the brain so it can create an image. The macula is a small area at the center of the retina. Its specific role is to process vision that which allows for reading, writing, and other detailed tasks.
Macular edema causes swelling or a thickening of the macula that can lead to vision loss. Retina treatments address conditions involving the retina, such as macular edema, to prevent further vision loss. Here, Dr. David Parks discusses common macular edema causes that can affect his Beverly Hills, CA patients, as well as treatment options that can help them retain clear, crisp vision.
Macular Edema Causes
Macular edema is specifically caused by damaged blood vessels in the retina. When blood vessels become damaged, they can leak fluids, small amounts of blood, and even fatty deposits. As these fluids and deposits build up, they cause the macula to thicken or swell, which then compromises its functions and results in vision loss.
Macular edema is a common complication of diabetic retinopathy, so it is often associated with diabetes. However, macular edema has many possible causes and is not a condition that is exclusive to diabetic patients. Aside from being a potential complication of diabetes, the damaged blood vessels that cause macular edema can also be the result of any of the following:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle part of the eye
- Blockage of the small veins in the retina
- Certain genetic disorders, including retinoschisis and retinitis pigmentosa
- Side effects from the use of certain medications
While not considered an exact cause of macular edema, it is important to note that a history of eye surgery can increase the risk of the condition. For instance, cataract surgery leaves the blood vessels within the retina sensitive, and may result in fluid leakage, which can lead to macular edema.
Treatments for Macular Edema
There is no cure for macular edema. However, there are treatments available to manage the condition and prevent further vision loss. Dr. Parks performs laser surgery for macular edema. During this procedure, Dr. Parks uses the energy of a laser light to seal off leaking blood vessels. This prevents the leakage of further blood and fluids.
While this treatment will not reverse any vision loss that may have already occurred, it does stabilize the patient’s condition and prevent further vision loss. Still, macular edema is a progressive condition. To ensure that more damage does not occur in the future, patients will need to repeat treatment as needed.
Schedule an Appointment
If retinal disorders have affected your vision, it is important to see an experienced retinal specialist, such as Dr. David J. Parks, as soon as possible. Dr. Parks can treat a range of retinal disorders to protect the health and function of the eyes, while preventing serious vision loss. To learn more about the treatments offered at our practice, schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.