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Cystoid Macular Edema

What is Cystoid Macular Edema (CME)?

Cystoid macular edema, commonly called CME, is a painless disorder which affects the central retina or macula. The eye is often compared to a camera, with the front of the eye containing the lens that focuses images on the inside back layer of the eye; this back layer is called the retina, and it is covered with special nerve cells that react to light. When CME is present, multiple cyst-like (cystoid) areas of fluid appear in the macula and cause retinal swelling or edema. This swelling in the retina in turn can cause decreased vision.

Some causes of CME include:

  • Eye surgery, including cataract surgery
  • Diabetes
  • A stroke in the eye causing blockage in the small arteries or veins of the retina (branch or central retina vein occlusion)
  • Inflammation of the eye
  • Eye trauma

The first symptom of CME is blurry or “wavy” vision in the center of your visual field. Your Eye M.D. can make this diagnosis by carefully examing the eye and also doing a special scan of the back of the eye, called an Ocular Coherence Tomography (or OCT).

Only your Eye M.D. can recommend the right treatment for CME. Treatment options vary depending on the degree of retinal swelling, but some options include: eye drops, injections of steroids or other medications inside or around the eye, and possibly surgery.

No matter what the cause of the CME, it can take several months for it to go away. The patient should not get discouraged. It is important that you keep following your Eye M.D.’s recommendations.