If you've been dealing with white reflections in your visual field for some time, you may be a bit relieved to finally have a diagnosis. But still, being told you have a rare condition called Coats Disease can be overwhelming. You're sure to have a few questions on your mind. Seek comfort in these answers.
Why are you developing this condition?
Many people blame themselves when they are first diagnosed with Coats Disease. However, it's important to understand that nothing you did, ate, or forgot to do caused the condition. It's a congenital disease, and if you have it, you were born with it—even though your symptoms have not appeared until recently.
The symptoms of Coats Disease are caused by a progressive deterioration of the blood vessels behind the retina. This deterioration can begin during childhood, or it may begin a bit later on in life. However, it has to proceed for a little while before symptoms typically become worrisome enough for you to mention them to your eye doctor.
Will the symptoms get worse?
The white reflections you're now seeing in your visual field will get worse over time. You may begin developing symptoms in the other eye too, or only one eye may be affected. You may also begin seeing flashes of light or color in your visual field. In the worst case, you may see some visual hallucinations, such as shadows that appear to be moving in the distance.
How will your eye doctor treat the disease?
Treatment varies widely depending on the severity of your condition and how quickly it is progressing. In some cases, your eye doctor may want to delay any sort of treatment for a while in hopes that the disease will stop progressing on its own. Other times, they may recommend a surgical procedure in which the damaged blood vessels are destroyed. This should halt or slow the progression of the disease, allowing you to preserve the quality of vision that you currently have.
It's important for your doctor to monitor the condition of your eyes closely. There's a chance of retinal detachment, which will require surgical repair and could cause a complete loss of vision. Make sure you keep any checkup appointment with your eye doctor, and if you notice any worrying or worsening symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
Finding out you have Coats Disease can be alarming, but with the care of an experienced eye doctor, you can go on to live a productive and enjoyable life.