Central serous retinopathy (CSR) is a small, round, shallow swelling that develops on the retina, the light-sensitive nerve layer that lines the back of the eye. Although the swelling reduces or distorts vision, the effects are usually temporary. Vision generally recovers on its own within a few months.
In the initial stages of CSR, vision may suddenly become blurred and dim. If the macula (the area of the retina responsible for central vision) is not affected, there may be no obvious symptoms.
CSR typically affects adults between the ages of 20 and 50. People with CSR often find that their retinal swelling resolves without treatment and their original vision returns within six months of the onset of symptoms. Some people with frequent episodes may have some permanent vision loss. Recurrences are common and can affect 20% to 50% of people with CSR. While the cause of CSR is unknown, it seems to occur at times of personal or work-related stress.
As CSR usually resolves on its own, no treatment may be necessary. Sometimes laser surgery can reduce the swelling sooner, but the final visual outcome is usually about the same. If retinal swelling persists for more than three or four months, or if an examination reveals early retinal degeneration, laser surgery may be helpful.