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Cystoid Macular Edema (CME) is a condition in which there is an edema or swelling in the macula. The swelling collects in multiple fluid filled cysts in the retinal tissue and thus has been named “cyst-like” macular edema. The swelling in the macula causes the vision to be blurred but is painless.

Fortunately, most patients with CME are successfully treated with their vision improving, although the healing process may be slow and take up to several months

What Causes CME?

Although the exact causes of CME are still not known, it can be associated with:

  • Diabetes

  • Eye surgery

  • Eye trauma

  • Retinal vein occlusion

  • Uveitis

  • Side effects from medication

Cataract Surgery

CME most commonly occurs after cataract surgery. About 3% of all cataract surgery patients will experience decreased vision within a few months of surgery. If CME occurs in one eye, there is an increased risk that it will also occur in your other eye.

The other cause is vitreous traction. Normally, the vitreous (the jelly like substance which fills the eye) is loosely attached to the retina. However, in some patients, CME arises from a tugging effect on the macula by this vitreous.


  • Blurred or distorted central vision

  • CME does not affect peripheral vision

  • Pink-tinted or dim vision

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Sometimes CME may be present when no visual loss occurs

Cystoid Macular Edema 1.jpg

“This image was originally published in the Retina Image Bank® website.

Author: Susanna S. Park, MD, PhD. Photographer: Ellen Redenbo. OCT CME. Retina Image Bank. 2014;18641. © the American Society of Retina Specialists."

Cystoid Macular Edema 2.jpg

“This image was originally published in the Retina Image Bank® website.

Author and Photographer: Olivia Rainey. Cystoid Macular Edema. Retina Image Bank. 2019; 28807. © the American Society of Retina Specialists."


Depending on the cause of CME, we would usually recommend the following treatments.

  • Anti-inflammatory medications, including steroid drops, pills or injections

  • Laser surgery to repair leaky blood vessels

Vitrectomy – a procedure to remove a substance in the eye called the vitreous (a gel-like substance that fills the body of your eye)

To learn more about Cystoid Macular Edema treatment options please schedule a visit with Dr El Annan at the Annan Retina Eye Center. Please call 346-22A-NNAN to speak to a member of staff who will be more than happy to help you.

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