What is Central Serous Retinopathy?
Central Serous Retinopathy, also called Central Serous Chorioretinopathy, is an eye disorder characterized by fluid accumulation underneath the macular, causing visual distortion. The macula is the central part of the retina (the light receptive layer of the eye) and is responsible for sharp central vision required for reading, driving, etc. As the name indicates, this condition affects only the central vision.
Fluid accumulation under the retina is found to occur as a leakage from the choroid which is a thin layer of blood vessels located between the retina (the light-sensitive layer of the eye) and sclera (the white of the eye). Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), located between the retina and the choroid layer, is a pigmented cell layer that nourishes the retinal cells and prevents the fluid leaking from the choroid and accumulating under the retina. It has been reported that small areas of RPE sometimes become defective, allowing the fluid from the choroid layer to build-up under the retina. Thus, the retina gets slightly detached from the underlying layers. In cases of central serous retinopathy, it is macular that is involved and fluid leakage produces a blister-like elevation of this central portion of the retina affecting the central vision.
This disorder is found to develop more commonly in men than women and affects adults in the age group of 20-45 years. The cause of Central Serous Retinopathy is unknown, although it is found to be associated with high levels of stress and overuse of corticosteroids.
Symptoms of Central Serous Retinopathy
Central Serous Retinopathy symptoms include:
- Blurred or distorted central vision
- A blind spot (dark spot) in the central vision
- Abnormal or diminished colour perception
- Objects may appear smaller or farther away with the affected eye.
- Visual acuity is affected and can range from 20/20 (normal) to 20/200.
Diagnosis of Central Serous Retinopathy
Central serous retinopathy is first diagnosed by instilling eye drops and dilating the pupil to view the retina. The diagnosis is then confirmed by performing a test called fluorescein angiography that uses a special dye and illuminates abnormal areas of the retina to identify the leakage points. Another diagnostic test is the optical coherence tomography (OCT) which uses a laser camera to capture pictures of the retina that clearly shows the detachment of the retina from its underlying layers of tissue.
Treatments for Central Serous Retinopathy
Generally, central serous retinopathy heals without any treatment within 2-3 months, with the normal recovery of visual acuity. However, it has been reported that the vision regained is not as good as the normal eye even after the condition has resolved. About 25% of patients have recurrences after the first episode of Central Serous Retinopathy.
In some patients, where the condition does not resolve in 2-3 months, a macular laser is performed to the area of the RPE that plays a significant role in fluid leakage and accumulation.