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Macular Edema

What is Macular Edema?

The macula is the central part of your retina that allows you the ability to read and see in great detail. A healthy macula allows us the precise vision needed for activities such as reading, driving or recognizing the fine details in faces and objects.

Macular edema refers to an abnormal blister of fluid in the layers of the macula. The swollen retina distorts images making it more difficult to see clearly. It is typically caused by increased leakage from damaged retinal blood vessels or growth of abnormal blood vessels in the deep retina.  

Macular edema is not a disease but is the result of one.  Macular edema is a common finding in many diseases of the retina, almost all of which can be treated to improve vision.  

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What are the symptoms of Macular Edema?

Macular Edema is not painful and doesn’t always have symptoms early on. Symptoms generally occur along with complications, such as leaking blood vessels – or vein occlusion.

Common symptoms of macular edema include:

  • blurred or wavy central vision
  • colors appear washed out or different
  • having difficulty reading

How is Macular Edema Treated?

The most effective treatment strategies for macular edema address the underlying cause (diabetes, blood vessel occlusion, abnormal blood vessel growth, inflammation, etc). Diagnostic testing done in the retina clinic can help determine the cause of the macular edema and guide treatment.  

Treatments for Macular Edema at Minnesota Retina Associates include:

  • Annual vision monitoring with dilated eye exams
  • Eye Drops: In most cases, macular edema after eye surgeries or eye inflammations can be successfully treated with eye drops.
  • Laser treatments
  • Intra-vitreal or peri-ocular injections of steroids (in selective cases)
  • Intra-vitreal injections – The injection of anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) medications into the vitreous cavity (retina location) can be a highly effective treatment for macular edema. These injections are done in our Golden Valley Bloomington and Hutchinson offices. Most patients require a series of injections, so they require periodic monitoring to evaluate when additional treatments with the anti-VEGF agents are needed.

FAQ: Macular Edema

What are the risk factors for Macular Edema?

  • Duration of diabetes — the longer you have diabetes, the greater your risk of developing diabetic macular edema (DME)
  • recent eye surgery
  • uncontrolled high blood sugars
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy

Macula edema itself rarely leads to total blindness. You may notice distorted or blurred vision with this condition. If you are noticing wavy lines or distorted vision call our office for an exam!

Like so many eye conditions, when diagnosed and caught early, macular edema can be treated successfully to prevent long-term vision loss. Our team of retina specialists will work with you to improve the underlying condition causing it and help you work toward a gradual recovery.


Serving Our Community

Serving patients in Bloomington and Golden Valley areas.


Minnesota Retina Associates
9801 Dupont Ave S., Suite 110
Bloomington, MN 55431

Golden Valley

Minnesota Retina Associates
8501 Golden Valley Rd., Suite 200
Golden Valley, MN 55427


Minnesota Retina Associates
1455 Montreal St SE
Hutchinson, MN 55350

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