Good Hope, Heartlands, and Solihull Eye Clinics

Central serous chorio- retinopathy (CSCR/CSR), Pachychoroid pigment epitheliopathy

David Kinshuck


CSCR is described here. It was previously termed central serous retinopathy (CSR), and a new name in Europe is pachychoroid pigment epitheliopathy and in the USA central serous chorio- retinopathy.

Essentially a little blister of fluid develops under the retina. The fluid develops but then usually disappears itself leaving a tiny scar. Occasionally later more blisters form and the further scars reduce the vision.

The cause of CSCR is not known. In some patients stress seems to play a part. CSCR is commoner in males of young adult/middle age, with darker skin. Sleep apnoea contribues Retina 20

Sometimes the blister 'CSCR' occurs by itself, but sometimes in the middle of the blister there is also a tiny blister of the pigment epithelial layer underneath, causing a pigment epithelial detachment (PED), as in the photo and diagram below. Autofluorescence and OCT are helpful Eye16.

The 'peripapillary pachychoroid syndrome (PPS)' Retina21 may be one type of CSR.

central serous retinopathy with a pigment epithelial detachment

A CSCR with a PED               a better photo here

Technically, such PEDs (pigment epithelial detachments) are likely to be smaller than 1 disc diameter. Larger PEDs may be CSCR. However, especially in older patients, they may be part of ARMD (age-related macular degeneration) with CNV (wet ARMD). The condition seems linked to  a thicker choroid, the layer under the retina, and is now believed to be one of the 'Pachychoroid Diseases of the Macula' see 2014. Fluid may accumulate in the choroid AJO 15

An area of CSCR tends to cause dimmer vision. If scarring does follow, then the sight is permanently reduced. Substantial vision problems are uncommon (5%).

Risk factors Retina16 "The authors concluded that hypertension, H. pylori infection, steroid usage, sleeping disturbance, autoimmune disease, psychopharmacologic medication use, and Type-A behavior were possible risk factors relating to the occurrence of CSCR".

The duration of the episode  Retina 17.  An OCTa or autofluorescence will identify atrophic changes and indicate the prognosis. If there are a lot of changes, PDT laser or other treatment will not improve sight. IJO17  2014 .     In the family Retina 19

CSR with atrophy

A CSCR with a neurosensory detachment, but no PED


CSR with flat iregular PEDs (pigment epithelial detachments)

  • These have a 30% risk of CNV  as seen with OCTa  Eye 18
  • commoner in patients ~55y
  • Retina 18    

CSR apertures

  csr apetures


Treatment of CSCR

  • There is no very effective treatment for CSCR, and generally no treatment is needed, asthe condition is mild and it gets better itself after about 2 months.
  • But addressing some issues helps
    • Stress may contribute..try and reduce stress
      • reduce working hours
      • yoga, tai chi, going out with friends, regular exercise (e.g. walking/swimming etc)
      • shift work increases problems AJO 16
      • sleep apnoea Retina 18
      • complement JAMA 18
    • Steroids (such as steroid tablets used to treat many conditions) can increase/contribute to CSCR. Check there is no steroid use, e.g. using cream for eczema, or Cushings disease. Steroid in any form fotopy may contribute Allergy15. Even a partner using steroid creams, or a child in the family, might be relevant. The increase choroidal thickness Retina 17
  • For more persistent cases, for instance when the fluid and visual disturbance has been present for more than 6 months then PDT laser treatment may help, although this is no longer easily available
    • 2019...many treatment such as those below have been suggested , but only PDT laser as above helps.
  • if the condition persists, resistant to treatment, think of PCV...and ICG may help

Treatments probably not effective......................

Related features

Patient 1

  • age 45, male (Asian...more common in Asian patients)
  • 6/9 vision, variable, with headaches (eye strain)
csr with a small ped

July..a shallow ped shown; more symptoms enlarge PED visible in this cut
(other cuts did demonstrate 2 small peds)



Patient 2


  • age 44, male 6/36, vision
  • the increase in fluid is 'acute'; the atrophic patch is chronic and long-standing
  • no treatment offered at this stage, will consider PDT if no better in 3 months

CSR with atrophy

November 2012, diplopia 3 months, and patient finding it difficult to cope  enlarge

May 6/36 but stable

CSR with neurosensory detachment




blue circle=atrophic area, long-standing, due to previous chronic CSCR damage


yellow circle=subretinal fluid, which has increased in the last 3 months





Patient 3

  • age 44, female 6/12, vision
  • lots of stress
  • 4 months later, a little improved

CSR, subretinal fluid, femal patient, lots of stress

April 2013, less fluid, sight a little better (no treatment given)  enlarge

Jan 2013, greyish vision




Patient 4

  • age 63, male 6/12, vision, minor distortion on Amsler, labelled CSCR, no symptoms

probable CSR

2 PEDs (pigment epithelial detachments) : appearance of CSCR, but some older patients may have early ARMD enlarge


Patient 5

  • bilateral macula pigmentary changes with atrophy
  • patient had Cushing's