Macular Telangiectasia – Types, Risks, and Symptoms

Macular telangiectasia (MacTel) is a condition that affects the macula and causes central vision loss. When the tiny blood vessels around the fovea become clogged, MacTel grows. The fovea, located in the middle of the macula, provides us with our sharpest central vision for tasks such as reading. The cause of MacTel is unknown.

Types of Macular Telangiectasia:
There are two forms of MacTel, and each has a different effect on the blood vessels:

Type 2 MacTel
Type 2 MacTel is the most common type of macular telangiectasia. Around the fovea, the tiny blood vessels become irregular and can dilate (widen). New blood vessels may develop underneath the retina in some cases. Macular neovascularization is the term for this condition. These blood vessels bleed or leak fluid. The macula swells or thickens as a result of fluid from overflowing blood vessels, affecting your central vision. Additionally, tissue in the macula or fovea can thin out or scar, resulting in a loss of detailed vision. Both eyes are affected by Type 2, but not necessarily in the same way.

Type 1 MacTel
The blood vessels dilate in Type 1 MacTel, forming tiny aneurysms that leak and cause swelling; this is known as macular edema, which causes macular cell damage. The condition almost always affects only one eye, distinguishing it from Type 2.

Macular Telangiectasia Symptoms
macular telangiectasia

People with MacTel may have no symptoms in the early stages.

You can experience blurring, blurred vision, and loss of central vision as the disease progresses. To read or perform other tasks, you may need a brighter light. Central vision loss occurs over a 10- to 20-year period. MacTel has little effect on peripheral vision and rarely results in complete blindness.

It is important to have routine eye tests because MacTel has no early signs. Your ophthalmologist will be able to spot any macular issues as soon as possible through regular exams.

Who Is at Risk?
macular telangiectasia

The most common age group for Type 2 MacTel is middle-aged adults. Men and women are both affected in similar ways. You could be at higher risk if you have diabetes or hypertension. There appears to be a hereditary predisposition to the disease in certain families, although this is not yet completely understood. The disorder has no clear cause in the majority of cases.

Coat’s disease is linked to Type 1 MacTel. This is a rare eye condition that affects almost exclusively males and is present from birth. Type 1 MacTel is usually discovered around the age of 40.

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