Kenneth O. Sparks, M.D.
Vitreo-Retinal Surgery & Ophthalmology

Appointments online or call 323-655-8036
Services & Treatments


Cystoid Macular Edema

Cystoid macular edema, commonly called CME, is a disorder that affects the retina, the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your eye. The retina converts light rays into signals, that are sent through the optic nerve to your brain where they are recognized as images. CME is the presence of multiple fluid-filled, cyst-like (cystoid) structures in the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for detailed vision. The result is swelling, or edema, of the macula.

Normal Retina

Affected Retina

What are the symptoms of CME?

The most common symptom of CME is blurred or distorted central vision. CME does not affect peripheral vision. Other symptoms can include pink-tinted or dim vision or sensitivity to light. Sometimes CME may be present when no visual loss occurs. Your Ophthalmologist may discover you have CME after a thorough medical eye examination after performing a photographic study of the eye called a fluorescein angiogram or ultrasound-like study done with light called an OCT.

Normal Vision

Vision with CME

What causes CME?

Although the exact causes of CME are not known, it can be associated with:
  • Retinal vein occlusion (blockage of a blood vessel in your retina)
  • Uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the outermost layer of your eye)
  • Diabetes
  • Eye surgery
  • Eye trauma
  • Side effects from medication.
CME most commonly occurs after cataract surgery: about 3% of all cataract surgery patients will experience decreased vision due to CME, usually within a few months after surgery. If CME occurs in one eye, there is an increased risk (as high as 50%) that it will also occur in your other eye.

How can CME be treated?

Depending on the cause of CME, treatment may include the following:
  • Use of anti-inflammatory medications, including steroid drops, pills or injections
  • Laser surgery to repair leaky blood vessels
  • A surgical procedure called vitrectomy to repair a part of the eye called the vitreous (a gel-like substance that fills the body of your eye).
Fortunately, most patients with CME are successfully treated and regain their normal vision, though the healing process may be slow and take up to several months.

Macular Degeneration
Age-related Macular degeneration (AMD) typically affects older adults.
Uveitis refers to the inflammation of the uvea. It also may refer to any type of inflammation to the interior of the eye and not just the uvea.
Diabetic Retinopathy
High blood-sugar levels can damage retinal blood vessels in the back of the eye.
Glaucoma Treatment
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve.