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Central Serous Retinopathy

What you need to know

Central serous retinopathy is an eye condition in which fluid builds up behind the retina. This fluid leakage comes from a layer of tissue under the retina.

We don’t know exactly what causes central serous retinopathy, but it is most common in men between the ages of 30 – 50. Stress also seems to be a risk factor, possibly due to the inflammation caused by high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. People taking steroids are also at an increased risk.

The most common symptom of central serous retinopathy is blurred, dimmed or distorted central vision in one eye. Your vision might seem like it has a brown or dull colouring to it. You may also notice straight lines seem crooked and objects appear farther away than they are. If you are experiencing these symptoms it’s important to see an opthamologist as soon as possible to determine what’s wrong.

Diagnosis and treatment of central serous retinopathy

As there are other conditions that can mimic central serous retinopathy, proper diagnosis is essential and can require multiple tests to ensure the most accurate results.

One of the tests we use is an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanner. Working with the latest generation OCT scanner means we can scan deeper, making a correct diagnosis easier. This technology allows us not only to look at the retina, but also at the layer below, called the choroid. From these scans we can determine if any thickening of the choroid is present, a sign of central serous retinopathy.

Another diagnostic tool we can use is an angiogram, which allows us to photograph the blood vessels in the back of your eye. We offer both fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography, and if needed can do both tests at the same time. During a fluorescein angiogram dye is injected into your arm. This dye makes its way to your retinal blood vessels and highlights them, making them visible for the camera. An indocyanine green angiogram works the same, but uses a different dye; it also allows us to see deeper, to the choroid. Eye Specialists are one of the few clinics in the area that offer both types of angiogram, enabling us to make the most accurate diagnosis.

Most people with central serous retinopathy do not require treatment and will recover in 4 – 6 months. For those with severe vision loss or leakage that does not go away, we may use a laser to seal the leak. This procedure can be done in the clinic by one of our experienced retinal specialists. In rare cases retinal detachment can occur and cause permanent blindness, it’s vital that you get a proper diagnosis so we can determine your best treatment options.

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RANZCO - The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists - The Leaders in Collaborative Eye Care
ANZSRS - Australian and New Zealand Society of Retinal Specialists
ASO - Australian Society of Ophthalmologists
ASRS - American Society of Retina Specialists

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