If you have this eye condition — cystoid macular edema — you’ll have swelling in the macula of your retina and cyst-like patterns. Objects may appear blurry or wavy, especially in your central vision. Treatment depends on what’s causing the cystoid macular edema.
Cystoid macular edema is a type of swelling (edema) that happens in your macula. Your macula is the central part of your retina. It plays an important role in your sight because it’s responsible for your central vision. It helps you see color and fine details, like individual bricks on buildings or leaves on trees. Sometimes when your macula swells with fluid, it does so in cyst-like patterns (cystoid).
If you have cystoid macular edema, you might not notice any symptoms. Or you might notice changes in your vision, like:
There are many known causes of cystoid macular edema. These include:
Cystoid macular edema often develops after surgery for cataracts. You may be more at risk of developing cystoid macular edema after surgery if you have certain medical conditions like:
Some medications, including vitamin B3 (niacin) and diabetes medications can increase your risk for cystoid macular edema. Also, if you have cystoid macular edema in one eye, you might get it in your other eye.
Untreated cystoid macular edema could lead to vision loss and low vision.
Your provider may use one or more of these tests to diagnose cystoid macular edema:
Treatment depends on what’s causing your cystoid macular edema. Only an eye care provider can recommend the right treatment. You may need to see a retina specialist, an ophthalmologist trained in retinal diseases. With treatment, your vision will likely improve.
Treatments for cystoid macular edema include:
The chance is low for complications or side effects related to treating cystoid macular edema but risks always exist. For instance:
Usually there are no restrictions after treatment. You don’t have to wait to go back to work or school unless you have a vitrectomy.
Recovering from a vitrectomy will take longer than other therapies. You may need to be off work for one to three weeks.
You may be able to reduce your risk of developing cystoid macular edema by:
If you have cystoid macular edema and get treatment, you’ll likely stabilize your vision and reverse damage. You’ll need to have regular appointments with your eye care provider.
Without treatment, cystoid macular edema can cause worsening vision loss.
It’s important to follow the suggestions of your eye care provider if you have a medical condition that can affect your eyesight, including cystoid macular edema. Regular appointments will help you and your provider identify any issues that may develop quickly.
Always contact your provider about any changes in your vision, such as blurred vision or distorted vision.
If you have any sudden loss of vision or a wound that punctures your eye, go to the emergency room. You need immediate medical care.
You may want to ask your provider questions about cystoid macular edema, such as:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Eye diseases can be frightening. It’s important to get regular eye exams and to contact an eye care provider when your vision changes. Early detection and early treatment lead to the best results.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/16/2023.
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