What is Coats disease?
Coats disease is a rare disorder characterized by abnormal development of the blood vessels in the retina. In the majority of cases, only one eye is impacted. In rare cases, both eyes are affected, but one significantly moreso. Additionally, males are impacted three times as often as females.
What are the symptoms of Coats disease?
The onset of symptoms can occur at any age, but it is most commonly within the first two decades of life. Severity varies between affected individuals, but symptoms include:
- Vision loss
- Misaligned eyes
- White reflex when light is shined into the eye
- Retinal detachment
- Discoloration of the iris
- Shrinking of the eyeball
What causes Coats disease?
The symptoms of this disease are the result of telangiectasia, a developmental malformation. A small group of blood vessels in the retina are widened, allowing proteins and lipids to leak from the blood. However, medical professionals are unsure as to what causes this malformation. They suspect that a mutated NDP gene may play a role.
How is Coats disease diagnosed?
Doctors will first look through patient history and conduct a clinical ophthalmic evaluation. This is followed by specialized testing, such as diagnostic echography, retinal fluorescein angiography, and at times, CT scans.
What are the treatments for Coats disease?
Treatment is symptomatic. Photocoagulation and cryotherapy are frequently used, and steroids and other medications may be utilized as well. In cases where the retina has detached, surgery to reattach it may be necessary.