Blog image

Central Serous Retinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

DR. MUKESH PATIL In Central Serous Retinopathy

May 11, 2024 | 7 min read

Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR) is a condition that affects the retina, the sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. While it may sound complex, we’ll break it down into simple terms to understand what causes CSR, its symptoms, and the available treatments. So, let’s delve into the world of CSR and shed light on this eye condition.



In CSR, fluid accumulation is abnormal underneath the central macula, a small but crucial area of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. This buildup of fluid, known as sub retinal fluid, can cause the macula to swell and distort, leading to vision changes. The exact mechanisms underlying fluid leakage in CSR are not fully understood, however, it is believed to involve dysfunction of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a layer of cells that support and nourish the retina. Dysfunction of the RPE can disrupt the normal fluid balance in the retina, resulting in fluid leakage into the sub retinal space.


CSR typically affects individuals between the ages of 20 and 50, with the majority of cases occurring in men. The condition may resolve spontaneously within a few months, with vision returning to normal or near-normal levels. However, some individuals may experience recurrent episodes of CSR, which can lead to persistent vision problems and require ongoing monitoring and treatment by a retina eye specialist.


What is Central Serous Retinopathy?


Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR), is a condition where fluid builds up under the retina. The retina is like the film in a camera, capturing the images we see and sending them to the brain. When fluid accumulates, it can distort vision and lead to other complications.




The exact cause of CSR isn’t always clear, but certain factors can contribute to its development. One common factor is stress. When we’re under stress, our body releases hormones that can affect the blood vessels in the eye, leading to fluid leakage. Another factor is corticosteroid use, either in the form of medication or as a result of high levels produced by the body. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, Type A personality traits, and certain medical conditions.




CSR can present with various symptoms, but the most common is a distortion in central vision. This may manifest as blurred or dimmed vision or even a blind spot in the center of your vision. Other symptoms may include seeing straight lines as wavy or having difficulty discerning colors. Some people may also experience a decrease in contrast sensitivity, making it harder to distinguish between shades of light and dark.


Diagnosis of Central Serous Retinopathy:


If you’re experiencing symptoms of CSR, it’s important to see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. During the exam, the doctor may perform a visual acuity test to measure your ability to see at various distances. They may also use a special dye and a camera to take pictures of the retina, which can help identify any fluid buildup. In some cases, additional tests such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) or fluorescein angiography may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.


Treatment Options for Central Serous Retinopathy:


The good news is that many cases of CSR resolve on their own without any treatment. However, if the symptoms persist or worsen, there are several treatment options available.

One common approach is to reduce stress through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or meditation. Avoiding corticosteroids, if possible, may also help prevent further fluid buildup.

In more severe cases, laser therapy or photodynamic therapy may be used to seal off leaking blood vessels and reduce fluid accumulation.


Risk Factors:


While the exact cause of CSR isn’t always clear, certain risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing the condition. These risk factors include:

  1. Stress: Chronic stress or sudden stressful events can trigger hormonal changes that affect the blood vessels in the eye, leading to fluid leakage.
  2. Corticosteroid Use: Corticosteroids, whether taken orally, injected, or applied topically, have been associated with an increased risk of CSR. These medications are commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.
  3. Type A Personality Traits: Individuals with Type A personality traits, characterized by competitiveness, time urgency, and hostility, may be more prone to developing CSR.
  4. Male Gender: CSR tends to occur more frequently in males than females, though the reason for this gender disparity is not fully understood.
  5. Pregnancy: Some women may develop CSR during pregnancy, possibly due to hormonal changes and increased stress levels.
  6. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): There is evidence to suggest a link between OSA, a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, and CSR.


What are the Complications of Central Serous Retinopathy?

While CSR usually resolves on its own without long-term consequences, complications can occur in some cases. These complications may include:

  1. Chronic CSR: In some individuals, CSR may become chronic, with persistent or recurrent episodes of fluid leakage leading to permanent vision changes.
  2. Retinal Atrophy: Prolonged or severe CSR can lead to damage to the retinal tissue, resulting in retinal atrophy and permanent vision loss.
  3. Choroidal Neovascularization (CNV): In rare cases, CSR may be associated with the development of choroidal neovascularization, an abnormal growth of blood vessels beneath the retina that can cause severe vision loss if left untreated.


Management and Prognosis of Central Serous Retinopathy

The management of CSR depends on the severity of symptoms and the presence of complications. In many cases, CSR resolves spontaneously without the need for intervention. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, treatment options may include:

  1. Observation: In mild cases of CSR, a watch-and-wait approach may be recommended, with regular monitoring of vision and retinal changes.
  2. Lifestyle Modifications: Stress reduction techniques, such as relaxation exercises and stress management strategies, may help prevent or reduce the severity of CSR episodes.
  3. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT): PDT involves the use of a photosensitizing agent and a laser to selectively target and seal off leaking blood vessels in the retina, reducing fluid accumulation.
  4. Anti-VEGF Therapy: In cases of CSR associated with CNV, anti-VEGF medications may be used to inhibit the growth of abnormal blood vessels and reduce fluid leakage.
  5. Corticosteroids: In some cases, corticosteroid medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and fluid leakage in the retina, though their use is controversial due to the potential risk of exacerbating CSR.

The prognosis for individuals with CSR is generally favorable, with many experiencing improvement or resolution of symptoms over time. However, close monitoring by an eye care professional is essential to detect any complications early and ensure appropriate management.



Central Serous Retinopathy is a relatively common condition that can affect individuals of all ages, though it is more commonly seen in men between the ages of 20 and 50. While the exact cause of CSR remains unclear, certain risk factors such as stress, corticosteroid use, and Type A personality traits have been associated with its development. Fortunately, most cases of CSR resolve spontaneously without the need for intervention, though some individuals may experience recurrent episodes or complications that require treatment. By understanding the causes, symptoms, management options, and central serous retinopathy treatments, individuals can take proactive steps to protect their vision and minimize the impact of this condition on their daily lives. If you suspect you may have CSR or are experiencing changes in your vision, it’s important to seek prompt evaluation and treatment by an eye care professional at the best eye care center to prevent long-term complications and preserve your visual health.

Like445 Share346

Written and Verified by:





Related Blogs

Get a Call Back

Book Appointment Call now 1800 1200 111