Macular Edema

David Lazar, MD

If things look a little blurry and the colors you see appear a bit faded, you could have a sight-threatening condition known as macular edema. David Lazar, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal specialist who practices at Lazar Retina in West Los Angeles. He’s a talented physician and gifted surgeon who focuses his extensive medical skill on treating diseases and conditions affecting the back of the eye, which includes macular edema. Your vision and eye health are his top priority. Schedule a visit with Dr. Lazar today by calling the office or using the online booking tool.

Macular Edema Q & A

What is macular edema?

Macular edema is the medical term for the buildup of fluid in the macula. Located in the center of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, the macula is responsible for sharp, straight-ahead (central) vision. As fluid builds in the macula, it swells and thickens, which distorts your central vision. Left untreated, chronic macular edema can lead to permanent vision loss.

What are the symptoms of macular edema?

Symptoms related to macular edema may be very subtle initially and worsen as changes in the macular progress. The most common symptom is blurry or distorted central vision.

With macular edema, your peripheral (side) vision remains intact but details at the center of the image you’re focusing on may appear hazy or wavy and colors seem faded, as if you’re looking through a foggy window pane. For instance, if you’re looking at a person’s face, the eyes, nose, and mouth may appear fuzzy, while the ears and other peripheral characteristics appear normal. As the condition worsens and the macula sustains further damage, you may eventually see only a black splotch in your central visual field.

What causes macular edema?

Macular edema is not a disease. Rather, it’s the result of damage to blood vessels that nourish the retina. This damage is linked to an underlying condition, most often diabetes. When the damaged blood vessels leak fluid into the nearby retina, it can accumulate in the macula and lead to the swelling associated with macular edema.

While diabetes is the most common cause of macular edema, this condition may also be related to:

  • Uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Any inflammatory condition that affects the eye, such as uveitis
  • Injury sustained during an accident or related to eye surgery

What is the treatment for macular edema?

Treatment strategies for macular edema include addressing the blood vessel abnormalities caused by diabetes or inflammation and reducing the fluid buildup in and around the macula. Eye drops, laser treatment, and surgery are effective in many cases. The mainstay of treatment, however, is intravitreal injection (IVI).

IVI is an office procedure performed under topical anesthesia, during which Dr. Lazar delivers medication inside the eye via injection with a tiny needle. The medication decreases the amount of fluid leaking from abnormal blood vessels. It’s a painless procedure that’s considered highly effective in treating macular edema.

Schedule a visit with Dr. Lazar today. Call the office or book your appointment online.