At the back of the eye is a layer of nerves, the retina, that ultimately sends visual information to the brain about the world. As light enters the eye, it travels through various components and ultimately focuses on a specific part of the retina known as the macula.
At your annual eye exam, our optometrist will always check that there is nothing suspicious about this important region in the eye as it is responsible for the clarity at the center of your vision. There are a variety of conditions that can affect this region and central serous retinopathy (CSR) is one of them.
Below is a description of the central serous retinopathy as well as the possible treatment options.
This condition, otherwise known as central serous chorioretinopathy (CSCR), refers to a condition in which fluid builds up in the macula. This could be due to leakage of the blood vessels underneath the macula, causing it to bulge forward with a decrease in vision.
Men between the ages of 30-50 years old are more likely to develop CSR, with stress being one of the major factors. Other risk factors such as use of steroid medications, autoimmune disease, sleep disturbances, high blood pressure, and a type A personality can increase the chances of getting a CSR episode.
Individuals with this condition could either be asymptomatic (have no change in vision) or it may be associated with a decrease in vision, causing the world to be blurry even with optimal spectacle correction. Metamorphopsia (distortion of the visual field) or a blind spot may be experienced. Changes to color perception may also occur.
Our eye doctor will often diagnose this condition using imaging from optical coherence tomography (OCT) as well as looking at the health of the back of the eye through a slit lamp. The treatment for this condition is simple: do nothing.
This condition is usually self-limiting, meaning that it will resolve on its own without any treatment. Our optometrist may monitor you every month to check on vision restoration.
Unfortunately, in some individuals, a few lingering changes to vision may persist, such as permanent changes to color vision or sensitivity to contrast. Long term treatment includes monitoring for changes in the visual field using a simple take-home Amsler grid that can help to assess for distortions in one’s visual field.
If this condition is chronic, meaning it lasts longer than 3 months, or vision continues to worsen, a referral will be made to an ophthalmologist for treatment. At the discretion of the ophthalmologist, the treatment will vary but could include photodynamic therapy (PDT) or laser photocoagulation.
These treatments aim to decrease leakage from the vessels behind the macula, reducing the changes occurring in one’s central vision.