It may take several months for your macular edema to resolve. During this waiting period, it is critical that you follow your specialist's treatment and recovery regimen.

Treatment of Macular Edema

How will my retina surgeon treat Macular Edema?

The main goal of any treatment for macular edema is to seal off leaking blood vessels so that the macula can function properly. The kind of treament your retina-vitreous specialist uses will depend on the cause of your macular edema and other particulars of your case.

Following are descriptions of some treatments for macular edema and in what kinds of cases they are typically used:

Focal laser treatment: If your macular edema is the result of diabetes or retinal vein occlusion, your retinal ophthalmologist may use focal laser treatment to reduce the swelling of the macula. By applying many tiny pulses of laser to the leaky areas of the macula, your eye surgeon will seal off the leaking blood vessels that are interfering with your vision. You may need this laser surgery more than once to fully control the leaking fluid. If you require this treatment in both eyes, your retina specialist will usually wait several weeks before treating the second eye.

Medication injection therapy: For patients with diabetic macular edema, two types of drugs have proven effective: steroids and anti-VEGF agents.

Anti-VEGF drugs (the retina specialists at Retina Vitreous Associates use both Lucentis and Avastin, depending on a patient's individual situation) work by blocking a chemical in your eye called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that causes abnormal blood vessels to grow under the retina. By interfering with this chemical, the drug reduces the growth of abnormal vessels and slows their leakage, thereby slowing the vision loss associated with macular edema.

Performed in your retina surgeon's office, your ophthalmologist will use an anesthetic to numb the eye and then will inject the medication near the retina using a tiny needle.

Eyedrops: If you have cystoid macular edema and your eye is irritated by a new lens, your retina-vitreous specialist may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) eyedrops. If within a few months they do not reduce the edema and improve your vision, your doctor may need to prescribe you steroidal drops, or you may even require steroid injections around or inside the eye. Very rarely, cases of cystoid macular edema do not respond to non-steroidal or steroidal drops or shots, so your retina surgeon will need to perform vitrectomy surgery.

Controlling blood sugar and blood pressure: Although it sounds simple, sometimes the most effective treatment of macular edema caused by diabetes is to maintain good control of your blood sugar and blood pressure.

Regardless of the treatment your retina-vitreous ophthalmologist determines is best for you, it may take several months for your macular edema to resolve. During this waiting period, it is critical that you follow the treatment and recovery regimen recommended to you by your Retina Vitreous Associates board-certified specialist.