How is central serous retinopathy diagnosed?

The first step is to do a thorough eye exam during which we check your vision and dilate your eyes. A special magnifying lens is used to examine the back part of the eye and assess the macula for swelling or fluid buildup and central serous retinopathy. In addition to dilating your eyes, we also have multiple imaging devices in our office to assess the macula at a microscopic level. We specifically have an advanced OCT (optical coherence tomography)  at the practice.

How is an OCT used for central serous retinopathy?

OCT stands for optical coherence tomography. In this non-invasive imaging test, light waves are used to create a highly detailed image of the back part of the eye using advanced high-scale technology. It allows us to see all the different layers of the retina. In this way, we can identify any subretinal or sub RPE fluid associated with central serous retinopathy.

It is also possible to measure the thickness of the macula and quantify the degree of swelling with OCT. In addition to diagnosing you, we can use the OCT to monitor progress or to see if it is resolving, because with central serous retinopathy, symptoms and the condition may resolve spontaneously. The OCT is also great for taking a baseline image and then at your follow-up appointment, taking another to see if anything has changed. 

Apart from monitoring you, we may also suggest you stop taking steroids if possible. It is never safe to stop cold turkey, we have to assess the risks and benefits in collaboration with your primary care physician who prescribed the steroids to you. If you have blood vessel leakage associated with the fluid, you may have to undergo multiple injections to get rid of the blood, swelling, and fluid.

What are the symptoms of central serous retinopathy?

In most cases, the symptoms occur in one eye, but they can also appear in both eyes. The following symptoms may be associated with central serous retinopathy:

  • Sudden or gradual vision loss.
  • Dimming in your vision.
  • Distortions in your vision where things and lines start to appear more wavy and bent versus straight.
  • Trouble with colors and they may appear more washed out.

If you notice any of these symptoms or experience sudden changes in your vision and find it difficult for you to perform your daily activities, please schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor.

Who is at risk of developing central serous retinopathy?

The prevalence of central serous retinopathy in men is 9.9 per 100,000, while the prevalence in women is 1.7 per 100,000. It is an eye condition that leads to fluid building up behind the macula. Your eye’s macula produces your best and sharpest vision and it is located in the middle of the back part.

A number of causes may simply be idiopathic (meaning that it can occur spontaneously). This is typically more prevalent in men than in women. It's usually associated with patients who are under a lot of stress or have a type A personality. However, this can also occur in women, specifically pregnant women are more likely to develop central serous retinopathy.


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