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Cystoid Macular Edema

Cystoid macular edema, commonly called CME, is a disorder that affects the retina, the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your eye.  


The retina converts light rays into signals, which are sent through the optic nerve to your brain where they are recognized as images. CME is the presence of multiple fluid-filled, cyst-like structures in the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for central (detail) vision.  The result is swelling (edema) of the macula. 


Although the exact causes of CME are not known, it can be associated with:

     - retina vein occlusion (blockage of a blood vessel in the retina)

     - uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the outermost layer of the eye

     - diabetes

     - eye surgery

     - eye trauma

     - side effects from medication

It most commonly occurs after cataract surgery.  About 3% of all cataract surgery patients will experience decreased vision due to CME, usually within a few months after surgery.  If CME occurs in one eye, there is an increased risk that is will also occur in the other eye.


The most common symptom of CME is blurred or distorted central vision.  CME does not affect peripheral vision.  Other symptoms can include pink-tinted or dim vision, or sensitivity to light.  Sometimes CME may be present when no visual loss occurs. 


Your ophthamologist may discover your have CME after a thorough medical eye examination, usually after taking special photographs of the eye using fluorescein angiography or optical coherence tomography (OCT). 


Depending on the cause of the CME, treatment may include some of the following:

     - anti-inflammatory medications, including steroid eyedrops, pills, or injections

     - laser treatment to repair leaky blood vessels

     - surgery (called vitrectomy) to remove a substance in teh eye called the vitreous (a gel-like substance that 

       fills the body of the eye)

Fortunately,most patients with CME are successfully treated and vision improves, though the healing proces may be slow and take up to several months. 

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