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What is Central Serous Chorioretinopathy?

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  • Written By: Emma Lloyd
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 December 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Central serous chorioretinopathy, also called central serous retinopathy, is an eye condition which causes distorted vision. This condition is normally temporary, and has a variety of causes. Most people who are affected by central serous chorioretinopathy vision loss regain at least 20/30 eyesight within six months of symptoms first appearing.

Central serous chorioretinopathy develops when one or more of the macula layers of the retina become detached. The macula layers are located in the center of the retina, and form a small yellow-pigmented area which is crucial for maintaining clarity of vision. If these layers become detached, fluid is able to leak into the space behind the retina.

Central serous chorioretinopathy can occur spontaneously with no known cause, but there are several associated risk factors. Stress is believed to increase the risk, and the condition is also associated with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Corticosteroid medications such as cortisone, used to treat inflammatory diseases and allergies, can increase the risk of this type of eye damage. In addition, people with obstructive sleep apnea or systemic hypertension have an increased risk. Some evidence suggests that infection with Helicobacter pylori may increase susceptibility, but this has not been conclusively proven.

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Symptoms of this eye disorder include distorted or blurred vision, random flashes of light appearing in the field of vision, and the development of a gray spot or blind spot in the central field of vision. Men are more likely than women to be affected, and people aged 20 to 50 are the most at risk age group.

Diagnosis is made via a retinal examination, and may be confirmed with fluorescein angiography. This test involves an intravenous injection of dye, and detection of the dye in the eye with camera equipment calibrated to detect fluorescence. Using this camera equipment, images of the blood vessels in the eye can be generated; these are then examined for evidence of retinal damage.

Often, treatment for the condition is not necessary, as the injury heals spontaneously for most people. Between 80% and 90% of people who develop the condition will regain vision of 20/25 or better in the affected eye without undergoing any form of treatment. Even so, some people experience some lingering side effects, such as reduction in color vision, or reduction in vision contrast.

Central serous chorioretinopathy treatment commonly consists of laser treatment to coagulate the torn tissues of the eye. Treatment is normally indicated in cases of chronic retinal detachment which persist for four months or longer, or cases in which retinal detachment occurs more than once in the same eye. Following treatment patients are encouraged to take part in activities to help reduce stress, such as meditation, yoga, or exercise.

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