Swelling of the macula


Macular edema is a condition in which the macula swells. The macula is a small area of the retina responsible for acute, straight-ahead vision. The edema is caused by fluid leaking from retinal blood vessels. The macula is surrounded by blood vessels and anything affecting them, such as a medical condition affecting blood vessels elsewhere in the body or a medical condition originating in the eye, can cause macular edema.

conditions_macular_edema_1 Swelling in the macula (edema) results from fluid build up and thickening within the layers of retinal tissue.

Risk factors

Disease including retinal vein occlusion, macular degeneration, diabetic macular leakage, eye inflammation, idiopathic central serous chorioretinopathy, anterior or posterior uveitis, pars planitis, retinitis pigmentosa, radiation retinopathy and posterior vitreous detachment. Some patients may have a history of use of topical epinephrine or prostaglandin analogs for glaucoma.


close detail vision, used in activities such as reading.


Macular edema affects close detail vision, used in activities such as reading.

Symptoms include:

• Blurred central vision

• Distorted vision (straight lines may appear wavy)

• Vision is tinted pink

• Light sensitivity


Treatment is directed toward the underlying cause of the edema. Eye drops, cortisone shots or laser surgery can be used to treat macular edema. Recovery depends on the severity of the underlying condition.