Coats’ Disease

What is Coats’ Disease?

Coats’ Disease, or exudative retinitis or retinal telangiectasis, sometimes spelled Coates Disease, was first identified by Scottish ophthalmologist George Coats in 1908. It is a very rare condition where there is abnormal development in the blood vessels behind the retina. The blood rich retinal capillaries break open, leaking the serum portion of the blood into the back of eye. The leakage causes the retina to swell, and can cause partial or complete detachment of the retina. Coats’ Disease is seen predominantly in males (69%) and symptoms generally appear in children aged six to eight but can develop as young as four months. It progresses gradually and affects central vision. It is almost always unilateral (affects only one eye). If caught early, some level of vision can typically be restored. If caught in late stages, complete loss of vision can occur. In its final stages, enucleation (removal of the affected eye) is a potential outcome. For additional information, see the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD).

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