• Macular Edema Treatment

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    Written By: Daniel Porter
    Reviewed By: G Atma Vemulakonda, MD
    Aug. 07, 2018

    The best approach to treatment requires addressing the underlying cause of the macular edema, and the related leakage and retinal swelling.

    Treatment for macular edema depends on what’s causing it, and can include:

    Medication injections. There are medications called anti-VEGF drugs. Anti-VEGF treatment helps reduce abnormal blood vessels in your retina, and also decreases leaking from blood vessels. This medicine is delivered to your eye through a very slender needle.

    Steroid treatment. When macular edema is caused by inflammation, steroid medication may be used. These drugs can be given by eye drops, pills, or injections.

    Eye-drop medication. To treat cystoid macular edema, which can occur after cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) eyedrops for a few months.

    Laser treatment. With this surgery, your ophthalmologist applies many tiny laser pulses to areas of fluid leakage around the macula. The goal is to stabilize vision by sealing off leaking blood vessels.

    Vitrectomy surgery. When macular edema is caused by vitreous pulling on the macula, a procedure called a vitrectomy may be needed to restore the macula to its normal (lying flat) shape. The surgeon uses tiny instruments to remove the vitreous from the eye and peel scar tissue from the macula. This relieves the traction that is damaging the macula.

    Sometimes the swelling in your eye can cause you to have increased pressure within the eye, called glaucoma. In such cases, your ophthalmologist will treat you with medicines to control your glaucoma.

    Depending on the cause of the macular edema and the treatment plan your doctor has recommended, the macular edema may take several months to resolve. During this time, it is important to follow the treatment regimen that your ophthalmologist recommends in order for your treatment to be effective.