Macular Telangiectasia- Type 2

Macular telangiectasia is a poorly understood disease that is characterized by abnormalities of the tiny blood vessels around the fovea of the macula. Macular telangiectasia may occur as a result of a retinal vascular disease or a systemic disease such as diabetes or hypertension, but in many cases, clinical findings reveal no known cause. In these cases, the term “idiopathic” is used.

Continued advances in imaging technologies are allowing more to be discovered about this disease. Researchers now suspect that the disease is not nearly as rare as once thought, and it appears to have two distinct forms. The disease is now able to be divided into Type 1 macular telangiectasia and Type 2 macular telangiectasia.

Type 2 macular telangiectasia is also called idiopathic juxtafoveal telangiectasia or idiopathic perifoveal telangiectasia. Juxtafoveal or perifoveal refer to the abnormalities in the blood vessels near, or around, the fovea of the macula. Type 2 macular telangiectasia involves widespread dilation and leakage of these vessels. As damage occurs, new blood vessels form within the macula and subsequently break or leak. The end result is the formation of scar tissue over the macula and the fovea. This series of events drastically impacts the area of central vision.

There is no standard treatment for either type of macular telangiectasia and the resulting vision loss. The future for those who have this condition is hopeful, though, as scientific advances have made the study of this once mysterious disease possible.Currently, a worldwide study called MacTel, sponsored in part by the NIH, is being conducted to better understand the disease and develop effective treatments.