Macular edema is a thickening or swelling of the eye’s macula, which is the central portion of the retina that controls detailed vision abilities. The condition develops when blood vessels in the retina become damaged and begin leaking fluids. A common complication of diabetic retinopathy, macular edema is the leading cause of blindness among diabetics. It is also a complication of macular degeneration and can occur after certain types of eye surgery.

If you are a diabetic and have noticed any changes in your vision, please contact California Retina Associates online or by calling our San Diego-area offices at (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755 to schedule an examination right away.

Symptoms of Diabetic Macular Edema

Symptoms of diabetic macular edema may include the following:

  • Blurred or wavy vision near or in the center of the field of vision
  • Patches of lost vision
  • Double vision
  • Loss of color intensity (i.e., colors that look washed out)
  • Loss of visual contrast
  • Floaters

Symptoms can range from mild to more noticeable, depending on the case. Also, macular edema is often asymptomatic when it first develops. Once symptoms occur, fluid has begun leaking from the retina. If you are diabetic, these symptoms indicate a serious problem and need to be brought to the attention of one of our diabetic eye disease specialists right away. Left untreated, macular edema can lead to severe vision loss and even blindness.

Diagnosing Macular Edema

If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with macular edema, you should schedule an appointment with our team. During the appointment, we will conduct a dilated eye exam to look for abnormalities in the retina and macula. We will also perform several tests to help us measure your visual acuity and confirm a diagnosis.

A common way to diagnose macular edema is to test central vision using the Amsler Grid. If, when looking at the grid, any parts look distorted, missing or dark, it could indicate a change in vision attributed to macular edema.

Other tests, such as fluorescein angiogram or optical coherence tomography may be performed to determine the extent of the damage to the macula.

Treating Macular Edema

Depending on the severity of your condition, our eye doctors may recommend a number of treatments for macular edema. These include intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops, and focal laser surgery. Which of these treatments will best address your condition can be determined during your initial examination at one of our San Diego-area offices.

You can help prevent macular edema from occurring by maintaining a healthy blood sugar level and keeping on top of your diabetes and general health. Frequent visits to our doctors for vision screenings are also a good idea – particularly if you begin to notice changes in your vision.

Contact Our Diabetic Eye Care Team

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Diego eye doctors, please contact us today. We maintain offices in the San Diego area and beyond to better serve the visual health needs of people living throughout Southern California.