Macular edema is one of a variety of eye conditions commonly associated with diabetes. The macula is a part of the retina. In macular edema there is a change in the blood vessels of the eye, which can cause swelling of the macula and a fluid leakage that can lead to partial or complete vision loss. Treatments for macular edema range from medication to laser surgery.
How macular edema is treated depends on a number of factors. Your age and relative health are taken into account as well as the extent of the damage the edema has caused to your retina. How you respond to particular medications and the doctor's prognosis for the development of other eye problems help determine course of treatment.
Because you notice macular edema only when you lose your vision, there is very little you can to head it off. But if you have diabetes, make sure that you keep your blood sugar in check to avoid macular and other vision complications.
The first step in treating macular edema is through anti-inflammatory medications such as cortisone or indomethacin. Doctors normally give these medications as eye drops but they can also be administered through an injection into the mouth. Diuretics can bring down the swelling in the macula.
Vitreous Gel Surgery
In some cases of macular edema the vitreous gel that fills the eye can cause pulling on the macula. When this is the case, surgery can remove some of the gel, decreasing the pressure. A salt solution replaces the vitreous gel.
Because macular edema is commonly a result of blood vessels becoming inflamed and leaking, laser surgery not only shrinks the abnormal blood vessel in the problem area but seals the area where there is leakage.
In certain instances macular edema will go away on its own and the vision problems can self-correct. If you catch the damage early, chances are that the loss of vision can be completely reversed. If you fail to take care of the problem early, however, damage can be permanent. At this point, it is up to you to control the factors--in this case, high blood sugar--that led to the edema in the first place to ensure that the condition doesn't recur. Regular visits to the eye doctor are a must.
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