Because the macula is surrounded by many tiny blood vessels, anything affecting them, such as a medical condition affecting blood vessels elsewhere in the body or an abnormal condition originating in the eye, can cause macular edema. These include diabetes, retinal vein occlusion, macular degeneration or uveitis.
The macula may also be affected by swelling following cataract extraction, though typically this resolves itself naturally. If there is macular edema in one eye, there is an increased risk that it will also affect the second eye. Fortunately, most patient recover their vision after some time.
In some cases, the swelling and inflammation which accompanies macular edema can bring on glaucoma, a disorder that often occurs due to increased pressure within the eye.
A great deal of research is presently being conducted to determine the causes of macular edema, as well as the best treatment.
It is very important to have periodic eye exams with an ophthalmologist if you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or arthritis.
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