Birdshot retinopathy is an autoimmune disease that can lead to the formation of numerous lesions on your retina. These lesions are scattered across the retina, which is how the disease got its name. The cause of this disease still isn't known, but it's a very serious and can lead to vision loss. Here are three things you need to know about birdshot retinopathy.
What are the signs of birdshot retinopathy?
Birdshot retinopathy can lead to a variety of eye symptoms. The most common symptom is decreased vision. This vision loss is mild at first, and in the early stages of the disease, people rarely have vision worse than 20/80. However, as the disease progresses, significant visual impairment can occur.
In addition to decreased vision, many sufferers experience symptoms like floaters, nyctalopia (difficulty seeing at night), dyschromatopsia (difficulty perceiving colors), or photopsia (seeing flashes of lights). Pain within the eye can also sometimes occur, though this is less common.
How is it diagnosed?
Your optometrist will examine your eyes through a slit lamp to diagnose this disease. A slit lamp is a special microscope that lets your optometrist look at the structures inside your eye. With the aid of this device, your optometrist will be able to see the characteristic lesions of birdshot retinopathy scattered across your retinas.
Your optometrist will look for other signs of birdshot retinopathy as well, like swelling inside your eye or posterior synechiae. Posterior synechiae is the medical term for your iris and your lens getting stuck together, and it's a sign that the inside of your eye is inflamed.
How is birdshot retinopathy treated?
First, your optometrist will need to control the inflammation within your eyes. You'll be prescribed steroids for this purpose, and since steroids can cause a lot of side effects, your optometrist will give you the lowest possible dose. Even lose doses of steroids can lead to bone damage, so your optometrist will also prescribe a medication to protect your bones.
Once the inflammation is under control, the next step is to control your immune system. Your optometrist will refer you to a rheumatologist for this part of your treatment. Immunosuppressants will be prescribed to control your immune system. While these drugs will keep your immune system from attacking your eyes, they'll also make it less effective against real threats like bacteria and viruses. This means that you'll need to take additional precautions to avoid getting sick, like washing your hands more often and staying away from people who are sick.
If you think you have birdshot retinopathy or any other condition, contact a specialist such as Charles Richards A OD.Share
10 February 2016
My name is Natalie Hunter. I am 29 and an elementary teacher. I created this website because I recently discovered something and wanted to share it with others. I had been suffering headaches for the past year that seemed to be gradually growing in severity. I had tried over-the-counter medications, homeopathic remedies and even made appointments with my doctor. I was given a CT scan and tried prescription medications. Finally, the doctor asked if I have had my eyes checked, as eye strain and eye issues can also cause headaches. I made an appointment with an optometrist, received a prescription for eyeglasses and suddenly, my headaches went away. It seems easy, but I had no idea. If you have headaches, I hope my website helps you understand what to expect when visiting an optometrist and how it can help with your headaches.