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Cystoid Macular Edema – Central Retina Swelling – (Jacksonville, FL)

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What is CME?

Cystoid macular edema (CME) refers to the formation of areas of cyst-like fluid within the macula, which is located in the center of the retina. The fluid results in inflammation of the retina. CME is a painless disorder that is caused by a number of other eye issues, such as uveitis or retinal vein occlusion, chronic diseases like diabetes, or as a result of cataract surgery. When CME occurs in one eye, that patient has about a 50% likelihood of the condition developing in the other eye. CME can result in blurry and decreased central vision, which affects the ability to drive, read, make out fine detail, and see color sharply. According to Jacksonville retina doctors, Dr. Shawn Agee and Dr. John Sullivan, this condition is painless, so just because there isn’t any pain doesn’t mean that there’s not a problem.

Causes and Symptoms

Even though CME has been around for a number of years, there is a lot that’s unknown about this particular condition. There’s no clear-cut cause for CME, but it doesn’t just occur on its own. The condition is usually attributed to an underlying condition or disease, such as diabetes, vein occlusion, uveitis, or epiretinal membrane. CME can also be caused by a prior cataract surgery. As a result of any of these, areas of cyst-like fluid will appear within the macula, the central portion of the retina.

The most common symptoms of CME are:

  • Decreased central vision
  • Blurred or distorted vision


CME is usually diagnosed by performing a comprehensive eye exam, along with fluorescein angiography, where your doctor will inject a special fluorescent dye into your bloodstream to highlight the blood vessels in the back of the eye. This allows your ophthalmologist to carefully examine your eye for the presence of CME. Your doctor might also decide to use optical coherence tomography (OCT) to take detailed photographs of the retina. OCT can also be used to monitor progression of CME and to show how well treatment is working.

Treatment and Prognosis

Dependent upon the underlying cause of CME is how CME will be treated. It’s critical to treat the cause, as well as CME itself. Inflammation is commonly treated with anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids. They can be in the form of eye drops, pills, or injections. Your doctor could also inject your eye with a class of drugs known as VEGF-inhibitors, which are used to prevent the growth of new blood vessels. In some cases, laser treatment can be used to solve the problem.

When surgery is warranted, a vitrectomy can be performed to remove the vitreous gel in the back of the eye and replace it with a saline solution to stop the strain on the retina.

In most cases, CME can be successfully treated and cured and full vision can be properly restored. More severe cases may not have such successful outcomes and can vary greatly from patient to patient.

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Whether you are seeking a diagnosis, require treatment, or both, we have all of the bases covered with CME. We are equipped to find out the underlying cause and provide possible treatment solutions. Feel free to contact our office to schedule an appointment.

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.