Central serous retinopathy

Alternative names
Central serous choroidopathy

Central serous choroidopathy is a disease involving fluid accumulation under the retina caused by leakage from the choroid (blood vessel layer under the retina).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause of this condition is unknown. Most patients are young men with aggressive, “type A” personalities, but anyone can be affected.

Stress appears to be a risk factor. The condition can also occur as a complication of steroid drug use.


  • A dim and blurred blind spot in the center of vision  
  • Objects appearing smaller or farther away with the affected eye  
  • Distortion of straight lines with the affected eye

Signs and tests

Your health care provider can usually diagnose central serous choroidopathy with a dilated examination of the retina. Fluorescein angiography is a test that provides a photographic image of the retinal circulation after a dye has been injected into the bloodstream. It will confirm the diagnosis.


Most cases clear up without treatment in 1 or 2 months. Patients with more severe leakage and more severe visual loss or longer persistence of disease may be helped by laser treatment to seal the leak.

Patients who are using steroid drugs (for example, to treat autoimmune diseases) should discontinue their use if medically feasible. Any change in steroid drug use in these conditions MUST be under the supervision of a physician.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most patients recover normal vision without treatment. Recurrences occur in about half of all patients and have a similarly good prognosis. Rarely, patients develop permanent scars that impair central vision.


A small number of patients will have complications of laser treatment which impair central vision, which is why most patients will be allowed to recover without treatment.

Calling your health care provider

If visual symptoms worsen.


There are no known preventive measures. Although there is a clear association with stress, there is no evidence that tranquilizer drugs have any benefit in preventing or treating central serous choroidopathy.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 6, 2012
by Dave R. Roger, M.D.

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