Are you a young person who is having unexplained vision problems? Do you have blurry vision in one or more of your eyes?
You could have a condition called central serous chorioretinopathy. It is common in young people, and if it goes untreated, it can lead to vision loss.
You must see an ophthalmologist if you suspect you have central serous chorioretinopathy. The eye doctors at Retina Consultants of Austin use the latest technologies and techniques to treat conditions like central serous chorioretinopathy.
What is Central Serous Chorioretinopathy?
Central serous chorioretinopathy (CSR) is a condition that occurs when fluid builds up under your retina. It can cause vision loss which is usually temporary, but sometimes it can become chronic or recur.
CSR is most common in young and middle-aged adults, and it is usually seen more often in men than women. Although it is unclear what the causes are, corticosteroid drugs seem to induce CSR. Other medications such as decongestants and erectile dysfunction medications may also play a role, so make sure to let your doctor know about the medications you are taking.
Corticosteroids are common in over-the-counter skin creams and nasal sprays. You are also more at risk for this condition if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or are pregnant.
What are the Symptoms of CSR?
The primary symptom of CSR is blurry vision, mostly in one eye. However, sometimes CSR does not cause any symptoms at all if there is only a small amount of fluid or if it occurs outside the macula—the critical center part of the retina.
How is CSR Diagnosed?
If your eye doctor thinks you have CSR, they will examine your eyes and take images of your retina. You may need an optical coherence tomography (OCT) which takes photos of your retina at a microscopic level.
The other diagnostic procedure for CSR is fluorescein angiography. In this test, you will have dye injected into your arm that travels to your eye.
The dye illuminates the blood vessels in your retina and will indicate which blood vessels are leaking. These two tests together allow your eye doctor to rule out other conditions that could cause fluid under your retina and to help guide treatment in CSR.
What are the Treatment Options for CSR?
Because CSR is usually a self-limited condition, it may resolve on its own over weeks to months without treatment. However, in a small group of patients, CSR can recur and become chronic.
If you need treatment, your eye doctor will likely recommend photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT is the most effective treatment for CSR.
In PDT, a drug called Verteporfin gets injected into your arm and then travels to your eye. Your eye doctor then uses a “cold laser” on your retina to activate the drug and stop the fluid leakage under your retina.
Thermal laser aka “hot laser” is another treatment option that can quickly restore your vision. However, it can leave a permanent scar, so it is not a good option if the leakage area is in the central vision.
If you are taking any corticosteroids, you will need to stop taking them. Speak with your prescribing doctor to make sure this will be safe.
Anecdotally a few oral medications have been associated with improvement in CSR, however, these medications have not shown to be effective in large-scale clinical trials.
Does CSR Treatment Have Side Effects or Risks?
If you receive photodynamic therapy, you may experience increased photosensitivity in your skin. You might also have dry eyes, a headache, or irritation on your eyelids after the treatment.
What is the Recovery From CSR Treatment Like?
Recovery from photodynamic therapy is generally fast and easy. You shouldn’t feel any pain during or after the procedure.
Since your eyes get dilated during the therapy, you’ll want to bring somebody who can drive you home. You will also need to wear sunglasses, long sleeves, and long pants.
The drug used during photodynamic therapy is a light-activated dye. That means you won’t be able to expose your body to bright lights for the next five days, or you could get a severe sunburn.
Will My Vision Return to Normal After Treatment?
After one to two weeks of recovery, your vision will likely improve. However, it may not be the same as it used to be.
Some patients might need additional photodynamic therapy after the first treatment. If you’ve had CSR once, you’re more prone to having it again.
Schedule regular appointments at Retina Consultants of Austin in Austin, TX, to ensure your retinas remain healthy.