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What Causes Macular Edema?


The macula is responsible for helping you see fine details, interpret images, see color, and faraway objects. So, when the macula is damaged, unfortunately, your vision may become compromised. The macula can be damaged in various ways, but a leading cause is due to the blood vessels in the retina. Macular edema is when the retina cannot absorb the fluid leaking into the retina and as a result, the macula swells. This fluid build-up leads to retinal damage and obscures vision. So, what causes macular edema? Macular edema is commonly a result of a complication of diabetic retinopathy, but it’s not necessarily the only etiology.


You are at higher risk for macular edema if you suffer from any of the following:


  • Diabetic retinopathy/diabetes

  • Complications from previous eye surgeries or trauma to the eye

  • Age-related macular degeneration

  • Vascular Diseases (high blood pressure, blood vessel blockage)

  • Inflammatory diseases (uveitis, retinal necrosis, and toxoplasmosis)

  • Obesity

  • Sleep apnea

  • Retinal vascular occlusion

  • Specific medication side effects


Having one of these diagnoses or any disease that causes damage to the blood vessels is what causes macular edema and is a sign to take precautions moving forward. Getting a dilated eye exam regularly and monitoring your health is crucial if you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. It’s advised to take better care of your health by making any necessary dietary changes, controlling blood sugar levels, and having regular doctor visits.


It’s not certain that you will suffer any symptoms from macular edema, so seeing your ophthalmologist is key to monitoring your retina. However, if you have any symptoms, some to look out for are:


  • Blurry vision

  • Seeing colors as dull or faded

  • Having ‘wavy’ vision (distorted when seeing straight lines)

  • Seeing floaters

  • Having blind spots

  • Trouble with facial recognition or trouble seeing fine detail


Do not wait to find out just what causes macular edema, but get ahead of yourself and schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist today.


If you are noticing any changes in vision, you can schedule your next visit with Dr El Annan at the Annan Retina Eye Center. Please call 346-222-6626 to speak to a member of staff who will be more than happy to help you.


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