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Cystoid Macular Edema

Related conditions: Epiretinal membrane, diabetic macular edema, macular hole, retinal vein occlusion

Background

Cystoid macular edema (CME) is a condition that affects the central vision. It describes the type of swelling that affects the fovea, not a specific disease process. Fluid-filled cystic spaces appear in the macula, which can be seen on exam, OCT, and fluorescein angiography.

Top: CME pre-therapy with topical drops. Bottom:  Resolution of retinal swelling one month post therapy.

Top: CME pre-therapy with topical drops. Bottom: Resolution of retinal swelling one month post therapy.

Flourescein angiography showing early (right) and late (left) images of leaking in the fovea, which causes CME.

Flourescein angiography showing early (right) and late (left) images of leaking in the fovea, which causes CME.

When people develop CME, they experience blurry or distorted vision. Once the CME is treated and resolved, much of the vision should be regained. However, if the condition is chronic, it can lead to permanent deterioration of the central vision despite complete resolution in the future.

CME can be caused by many different disease processes, such as uveitis, diabetes, macular pucker/epiretinal membrane, retinal vein occlusions (CRVO/BRVO), and retinitis pigmentosa.

Since there are so many possible causes of CME, your retinal specialist will create a tailored approach to treat your condition. Most treatments address inflammation and other causes of leaky blood vessels. More information on this can be found elsewhere in this library.

Most common symptoms

  • Blurry central vision
  • Distorted central vision

Potential complications

  • Permanent degradation of central vision

Treatment   

  • Topical eye drops (steroid and nonsteroidals)
  • Intravitreal injections (steroid and anti-VEGF)
  • Pars plana vitrectomy with membrane peeling

What to do if you develop these symptoms

  • Don’t panic.
  • Schedule an evaluation with a retinal specialist to determine whether you have CME and what the cause may be. Your specialist will help determine the best treatment strategy for you.