Macular Diseases: Macular Edema vs Central Serous Retinopathy

July 31, 2023


Eyes are made up of many parts. These parts can be influenced by other parts of the eyes, such as blood vessels or inflammation.

The eye experts at OOMC are here to discuss two similar eye conditions: macular edema and central serous retinopathy. Both involve the swelling of blood vessels, changing your vision. Read on to learn more.

What Is Macular Edema?

Eye examMacular edema is swelling of the macula, the central part of the retina. It’s often due to leakage from the retinal blood vessels and, if left untreated, can distort vision, make colors look washed out, and eventually lead to vision loss.

There are several causes of macular edema, including:

  • Diabetes—High blood sugars can damage blood vessels, including in the retina. These damaged blood vessels can leak into the macula, causing macular edema.
  • Age-related macular degeneration—Abnormal and aging blood vessels may begin to leak into the macula.
  • Retinal vein occlusions—Blood vessel blockages in the retina can cause blood vessel leakage and swelling in the retina.
  • Inflammation—Eye inflammation from surgery or other disorders of the immune system can lead to leakage from retinal blood vessels and swelling in the macula.

What Is Central Serous Retinopathy?

Stress in patients lifeCentral serous retinopathy, also known as central serous chorioretinopathy, is a condition where fluid builds up under the retina. This fluid buildup can lead to blurry/dimmed vision or distortion, though the fluid buildup is painless.

This fluid often comes from the choroid, a blood vessel layer beneath the retina. One or both eyes can be involved at a time.

Some of the risk factors for this condition are:

  • Steroid medication use
  • Pregnancy
  • High-stress lifestyle
  • Autoimmune diseases

Diagnosing Macular Edema and Central Serous Retinopathy

Macular edema and central serous retinopathy can be diagnosed through a dilated eye exam and some imaging tests. Dilating eye drops widen your pupil, allowing your doctor to examine the retina in the back of your eye.

In addition to an eye exam, your doctor may complete a fluorescein angiography, which can inform your physician if your retinal blood vessels are leaking. For this test, the doctor will inject a dye into your arm and examine the retina for leakage as the dye spreads to your eyes.

Your doctor may also perform an optical coherence tomography (OCT), a detailed scan of the retina that can diagnose and measure the extent of swelling in the macula.

Discuss Your Treatment Options With an Eye Expert Today

If you’re experiencing symptoms or have been diagnosed with a macular disease, such as macular edema or central serous retinopathy, eye experts at OOMC practices can help develop a personalized treatment plan for your condition.

Contact your local OOMC practice to schedule an appointment today.

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