Central Serous Retinopathy Symptoms

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Central serous retinopathy is a buildup of fluid under the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye called the retina. This fluid leaks from a layer of tissue under the retina (the choroid). It most often affects the central area of the retina (the macula). Another name for this condition is central serous chorioretinopathy. Symptoms of central serous retinopathy include blurred central vision, blind spots, and seeing colors incorrectly.

Male patient talking to eye doctor.

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Symptoms

Frequent symptoms associated with central serous retinopathy include:

  • A darker area in your central, or middle, vision
  • Blurred central vision in only one eye but may affect your other eye, as well
  • Having dimmed or blind spots in your vision
  • Perceiving objects as smaller than they actually are
  • Seeing colors incorrectly
  • Seeing straight lines as bent, crooked, or irregular

These symptoms often occur in just one eye, but it is possible for both eyes to have the condition. Some people don't have any symptoms at all when they have central serous retinopathy.

Rare Symptoms

Central serous retinopathy does not have any rare symptoms that are serious. Symptoms that may be less common include:

  • Having vision that changes from day to day, with vision being stronger some days than others
  • Problems seeing an object set against a similarly colored background (contrast sensitivity)
  • Sensitivity to bright light

Complications

Most people with central serous retinopathy recover without any permanent effects on their vision. However, some lasting visual effects can include:

  • Reduced perception of colors, including not being able to discern between certain colors
  • Scarring beneath the retina
  • Weaker vision at night

Most people find that central serous retinopathy goes away after four to six months. The condition has a greater association with vision loss if it lasts longer than a year because the swelling from the fluid can cause vision damage over time. An eye doctor will likely recommend treatment for prolonged central serous retinopathy.

Central serous retinopathy is more common in middle-aged men than in other groups, so complications also are more likely to include in this same population group.

About 50% of people who experience central serous retinopathy have a recurrence, although vision usually returns to normal with the recurrence as well.

When to See a Doctor

If you have the symptoms associated with central serous retinopathy, you should see an eye doctor. Although the condition does not always require treatment, it's important for the doctor to confirm the cause of your blurred vision or other related symptoms.

You also will want to keep any follow-up appointments that your eye doctor schedules in the few months after a central serous retinopathy diagnosis. Your eye doctor can help confirm that your vision is recovering and that you are not experiencing any vision loss.

Summary

Central serous retinopathy is the name for a buildup of fluid under the retina. Symptoms include blurry central vision, seeing objects as closer than they are, and having blind spots in your vision. Most people recover their vision in a few months, but trouble with night vision and a reduced perception of colors can occur in the long term.

A Word From Verywell

Although it usually resolves on its own, the blurry vision and other symptoms associated with central serous retinopathy may bother you. Track your symptoms and see an eye doctor to confirm your diagnosis.

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Porter D/American Academy of Ophthalmology. What is central serous chorioretinopathy?

  2. RNIB. Central serous retinopathy.

  3. Semeraro F, Morescalchi F, Russo A, et al. Central serous retinopathy: Pathogenesis and management. Clin Ophthalmol. 2019;13: 2341–2352. doi:10.2147/OPTH.S220845

  4. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Central serous choroidopathy.