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Cystoid Macular Edema

What is cystoid macular edema?

Cystoid macular edema, commonly called CME, is a disorder that affects the retina, the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your eye.  The retina converts lights rays into signals, which are sent through the optic nerve to your brain where they are recognized as an image.  CME is the presence of fluid-filled, cyst-like (cystoid) structures in the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for central vision.  The result  is swelling, or edema, of the macula.

What are the symptoms of CME?

The most common symptom of CME is blurred or distorted central vision.  CME does not affect peripheral (side) vision. Other symptoms can include pink-tinted or dim vision or sensitivity to light.  Sometimes CME may be present when no visual loss occurs.  Your doctor may discover you have CME after an eye examination.

What causes CME?

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

retinal vein occlusion) blockage of blood vessel in your retina);
uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the central layer of your eye);
diabetes;
eye surgery;
eye trauma;
side effects from medication.

It most commonly occurs after cataract surgery. About 3% of all cataract surgery patients will experience decreased vision due to CME, usually within a few months after surgery.  If CME occurs in one eye, there is an increased risk (as high as 50%) that it will also occur in your other eye.

How can CME be treated?

Depending on the cause of CME, treatment may include some of the following methods:

  • anti-inflammatory medications, including steroid drops, pills or injections.
  • laser surgery to repair leaky blood vessels;
  • a surgical procedure called vitrectomy to repair a part of the eye called the vitreous (a gel-like substance that fills the body of your eye).

Fortunately most patient with CME are successfully treated and retain their normal vision, though the healing process may take up to several months.

Courtesy of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  Reprinted with permission of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  Copyright protected.  All rights reserved.  Users of this website may reproduce one (1) copy of this for their own personal, noncommercial use.  All Internet, web or electronic posting or transmission is not permitted.