Macular edema is swelling of the macula caused by fluid leaking from retinal blood vessels. Central vision, used for reading and other close detail work, is affected. Because the macula is surrounded by many tiny blood vessels, anything involving them, such as a medical condition affecting blood vessels elsewhere in the body or an abnormal state originating in the eye, can cause macular edema.
Retinal blood vessel obstruction, eye inflammation, and age-related macular degeneration have all been associated with macular edema. The macula may also be affected by swelling following cataract extraction, though typically, this resolves itself naturally.
Treatment seeks to remedy the underlying cause of the edema. For example, eyedrops, injections of medication into or around the eye, or laser procedures can all be used to treat macular edema. However, recovery depends on the severity of the condition causing the edema.