Coat disease – what it is, symptoms and treatments!

Coats disease is usually diagnosed in childhood. The exact cause is not known, but early intervention can help save your eyesight and save your child.

What is coat disease?

It is a rare eye disease that involves the abnormal development of blood vessels in the retina. Located at the back of the eye, the retina sends light images to the brain and is essential for vision.

In people with coats disease , capillaries in the retina open and leak fluid into the back of the eye. As fluid accumulates, the retina begins to swell. This can cause partial or complete detachment of the retina, leading to decreased vision or blindness in the affected eye from the skin .

Signs and symptoms of coats disease :

Signs and symptoms usually start in childhood. They may be mild at first, but some people experience severe symptoms right away. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Yellow eye (similar to red eye) that can be seen in flash and water photography ;
  • Strabismus or crossed eyes;
  • Leukocoria (white mass behind the lens of the eye);
  • Loss of depth perception;
  • Vision Deterioration.

Later symptoms may include:

  • Red discoloration of the iris;
  • Uveitis or eye inflammation;
  • Retinal detachment;
  • Glaucoma;
  • cataract ;
  • Atrophy of the eyeball.

Symptoms usually occur in just one eye, although it can affect both.

Stages of coats disease :

It is a progressive condition divided into five stages.

Stage 1:

In the early stages, the doctor may see that you have abnormal blood vessels, but they haven’t started to leak yet.

Stage 2:

Blood vessels begin to leak fluid into the retina. If the leak is small, you may still have normal vision. With a larger leak, you may already be experiencing severe vision loss. Also, the risk of retinal detachment increases as fluid builds up.

Stage 3:

Your retina is partially or completely detached.

Stage 4:

You have developed increased pressure in the eye, called glaucoma.

Stage 5:

In advanced Coats disease, you have completely lost vision in the affected eye. In addition, you may also have developed cataracts (clouding of the lens) or phthisis bulbi (atrophy of the eyeball).

Treatments for coats disease :

It’s progressive. With early treatment, it is possible to restore some vision. Some treatment options are:

Laser surgery (photocoagulation):

This procedure uses a laser to shrink or destroy blood vessels. Your doctor may perform this surgery in an outpatient setting or in an office setting.


Imaging tests help guide a needle-like applicator (cryopreservation) that produces extreme cold. Also, it is used to create a scar around abnormal blood vessels, which helps to prevent further leakage. Here’s how to prepare and what to expect during recovery.

Intravitreal injections:

Under local anesthesia, the doctor may inject corticosteroids into the eye to help control inflammation. Additionally, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) injections can reduce the growth of new blood vessels and relieve swelling. Injections can be given in your doctor’s office.


This is a surgical procedure that removes the vitreous gel and provides better access to the retina. Also, learn more about the procedure to do during recovery.

Scleral buckling:

This procedure replaces the retina and is usually performed in a hospital operating room.

Useful links: 

Whatever treatment you have, you will need careful monitoring. In the final stage of coats disease , atrophy of the eyeball can result in surgical removal of the affected eye. Also, this procedure is called enucleation.

Outlook and possible complications:

  • There is no cure for coats disease , but early treatment can improve your chances of keeping your eyesight;
  • In addition, most people respond well to treatment. But about 25% of people experience a continual progression that leads to the removal of the eye;
  • The outlook is different for everyone, depending on stage at diagnosis, rate of progression, and response to treatment;
  • Additionally, your doctor can assess your condition and give you an idea of ​​what you can expect.

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