Blurry vision can have many causes. It can signal a need for glasses or contacts, but sometimes, it can mean a condition called macular edema. While this condition is most commonly associated with diabetic retinopathy, the condition also appears as a symptom of other issues as well.

What is Macular Edema?

This condition indicates swelling in a part of the retina called the macula. The macula is the area of your retina that helps your eye pick out fine detail, color, and far-away objects. When fluid leaks into the macula or swelling occurs for other reasons, it can result in blurry vision. You might also notice that objects appear wavy, colors look dull or faded, or that an object looks differently sized with each eye.

If this condition remains untreated, irreversible damage and permanent vision loss can occur.

What Causes This Swelling?

A swollen macula can happen for many reasons. It is important that you see your vision health professional right away if you experience unexplained blurriness.

  • Diabetic retinopathy. This is the most common cause of macular edema. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels, which then leak into the macula.
  • Age-related macular degeneration. Certain types of age-related macular degeneration can allow abnormal blood vessels in the macula to leak fluid into or beneath the retina.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa. This genetic disease can sometimes cause swelling in the macula.
  • Uveitis. This inflammation occurs when the immune system decides to attack eye tissue. Any part of the eye may be attacked, including the macula.
  • Retinal vein occlusion. Veins within the retina may become blocked, or occluded. This prevents the proper drainage of blood away from the macula, which causes swelling.
  • Eye surgery. Macular edema can happen as a result of surgery for other eye conditions.
  • Medication. Certain medications can cause swelling of the macula as a side effect.

Can a Swollen Macula Be Treated?

This condition usually occurs because of another condition, such as diabetes or genetic predisposition. It is important to discover and treat the root cause of the swelling. Your eye doctor may also recommend other treatments, such as:

  • Eye drops
  • Injections
  • Laser treatment
  • Eye surgery

Bring Life into Focus with Valley Eyecare Center

If you are experiencing unusual blurry vision, or have other eye concerns, contact Valley Eyecare Center at (602) 955-2700 to make an appointment. We’re here to bring your life into focus!