What is Coats’ Disease?
The retinal blood vessels work like a garden hose, bringing oxygen and other nutrients into and out of the eye. In Coats’ disease, these vessels are weak, allowing fluid, blood, and lipid (fatty deposits) to leak into and beneath the retina causing it to swell and not work properly. Central and peripheral vision can become blurred, just as a water droplet placed on a photograph will cause the picture to blister and become distorted.
Coats’ disease predominantly occurs in males and only affects one eye. It is not associated with any other eye or systemic abnormalities.
How is Coats’ Disease diagnosed?
Coats’disease is a clinical diagnosis found during a dilated retinal examination. Fluorescein angiography is often used to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the retinal damage. More severe disease generally presents earlier in life with painless vision loss. In young children, parents may notice the affected eye wandering. Photographs of the child may also show a yellow discoloration of the pupil.