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Cystoid Macular Edema

What is Cystoid Macular Edema?

Cystoid macular edema (CME) is a condition that involves the accumulation of fluid within the layers of the macula, the central part of the retina that provides fine, detailed vision. CME can reduce central vision and impacts critical fine visual tasks such as reading.

Cystoid Macular Edema


Cystoid macular edema symptoms can include:

  • Blurry central vision
  • Altered color saturation
  • Straight lines may appear bent

Peripheral vision is usually not affected by this condition. Some patients may be asymptomatic.

Causes and Associations

Cystoid macular edema has many known causes and may present in patients who have a history of:

Less common causes include past exposure to radiation, inherited retinal diseases, and intraocular tumors.


A comprehensive eye examination is important when evaluating for CME, including vision testing, eye drops to dilate the pupils, and a complete examination of the front and back of the eye. A driver should accompany the patient during the eye exam, as pupillary dilation may create near-vision blurring.

People with CME may undergo several types of tests to evaluate their condition, including:

The prognosis for cystoid macular edema hinges on various factors, including the underlying cause, the severity of the condition, and how early it is diagnosed and treated. In some cases, CME may resolve on its own without any treatment. However, in other cases, it may persist or worsen if left untreated


Cystoid macular edema treatment is based on the severity of the condition and the individual patient and may include:

Steroid or Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Eye Drops

Intravitreal Injections
Intravitreal injections are commonly used to treat many retinal conditions. With this treatment, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors or steroids are injected directly into the eye. This procedure is performed in the office and requires only a local anesthetic. Intravitreal injections may be administered as frequently as once a month, depending on the condition being treated, to maintain eye health and optimize vision.

Vitrectomy surgery may be recommended for rare cases with associated vitreous gel abnormalities.

Most patients experience significant vision improvement after one or more of these treatment options.

If you have any signs or symptoms of CME, contact us today to meet with a Mid Atlantic Retina specialist. Our team can work with you to protect your vision and minimize your complications.