One of the first treatment strategies for macular edema is to address any underlying causes like diabetes or high blood pressure. Then, to directly treat any damage to the retina, the current standard of care is an intravitreal injection to block the activity of a substance called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
In macular edema, VEGF is overactive, causing the growth of blood vessels that can rupture and leak into the retina and macula. When injected into the eye, anti-VEGF medications like Avastin, Eylea and Lucentis, help to block this activity and slow the progression of the disease. During the injection, numbing drops are applied to the eye, and a short thin needle is used to inject medication into the vitreous gel — the fluid in the center of the eye.