Treatment options for macular edema include focal laser surgery; anti-VEGF drugs; steroid injections; and nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory eye drops, according to EyeSmart. If the patient has diabetes, blood-pressure and blood-sugar control may also be used to treat macular edema.
Focal laser treatment is used to control leakage and reduce fluid in the macula by placing hundreds of tiny laser burns around the affected area, as stated by the National Eye Institute. Although patients receive the full treatment in a single session, additional treatments may be required. If both eyes are affected, the doctor normally treats one eye at a time with several weeks between treatment sessions. Patients who undergo laser treatment have a 50 percent reduced chance of experiencing vision loss.
Injections of steroids and anti-VEGF drugs may be used to treat macular edema in diabetic patients, with the latter medication type targeting vascular endothelial growth factor that leads to abnormal blood vessels, according the EyeSmart. After the doctor numbs the eye with an anesthetic, a thin needle is driven into the retina to apply the medication. Nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory eye drops are used to treat macular edema and reduce vision loss in patients with cystoid macular edema. Steroid eye drops and injection may be used if this treatment is not effective.