Central serous chorioretinopathy (CSCR) is a problem that affects the macula (central portion of the retina). The exact cause is not understood. CSCR occurs when a small break forms in the pigment layer of the retina. Fluid from the layer of blood vessels that lie underneath the retina seeps up through the break, causing a small detachment to form under the retina.
This problem is somewhat similar to a water blister that forms on the skin. The process is similar to CSCR: fluid collects beneath the skin's surface, causing the layers of skin to separate.
CSCR affects men more often then women and usually occurs between the ages of 25 and 50. Stress is thought to be linked to this problem. CSCR typically resolves spontaneously, but it can recur. In some cases, it may lead to moderate but permanent loss of central vision.
Usually the eye care practitioner can diagnose CSCR with an examination of the retina using ophthalmoscopy. In most cases fluorescein angiography is used to gather additional information about the extent and severity of the problem.
Most patients with CSCR do not require treatment. The fluid usually absorbs gradually over a period of months. Occasionally, steroid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops are prescribed. In cases where visual recovery is delayed, laser treatment may be required to seal the leak and help the vision improve.
Illustrations by Mark Erickson
With acknowledgement to St. Lukes Eye Hospital.