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Central serous choroidopathy

Definition

Central serous choroidopathy is a disease that causes fluid to build up under the retina, the back part of the inner eye that sends sight information to the brain. The fluid leaks from the blood vessel layer under the retina. This area is called the choroid.

Alternative Names

Central serous retinopathy

Causes

The cause of this condition is unknown.

Men are affected more often than women, and the condition is most common at around age 45, but anyone can be affected.

Stress appears to be a risk factor. Early studies found that people with aggressive, "type A" personalities who are under a lot of stress may be more likely to develop central serous choroidopathy.

The condition can also occur as a complication of steroid drug use.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Dim and blurred blind spot in the center of vision
  • Distortion of straight lines with the affected eye
  • Objects appearing smaller or farther away with the affected eye

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider can usually diagnose central serous choroidopathy by dilating the eye and performing an eye exam. Fluorescein angiography confirms the diagnosis.

This condition may also be diagnosed with a noninvasive test called ocular coherence tomography (OCT).

Treatment

Most cases clear up without treatment in 1 or 2 months. Laser treatment or photodynamic therapy to seal the leak may help restore vision in people with more severe leakage and vision loss, or in those who have had the disease for a long time.

People who are using steroid drugs (for example, to treat autoimmune diseases) should stop using these drugs, if possible. DO NOT stop taking these medicines without first talking to your provider.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most people recover good vision without treatment. However, vision is often not as good as it was before the condition occurred.

The disease returns in about half of all people. Even when the disease returns, it has a good outlook. Rarely, people develop permanent scars that damage their central vision.

Possible Complications

A small number of people will have complications from laser treatment that impair their central vision. That is why most people recover without treatment.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if your vision gets worse.

Prevention

There is no known prevention. Although there is a clear association with stress, there is no evidence that reducing stress has any benefit in preventing or treating central serous choroidopathy.

References

Kitzmann AS, Pulido JS, Wirostko WJ. Central serous chorioretinopathy. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2008:chap 6.29.

Roddy GW, Rosa RH, Jr. Pathology of the retina. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Foundations of Clinical Ophthalmology. Vol. 3. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013: chap 13.

Wang M, Munch IC, Hasler PW, Prante C, Larsen M. Central serous chorioretinopathy. Acta Ophthalmol. 2008; 86:126-145.

Review Date:9/2/2014
Reviewed By:Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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