Coats' Disease

  • Medical Author:
    Frank J. Weinstock, MD, FACS

    Dr. Weinstock is a board-certified ophthalmologist. He practices general ophthalmology in Canton, Ohio, with a special interest in contact lenses. He holds faculty positions of Professor of Ophthalmology at the Northeastern Ohio Colleges of Medicine and Affiliate Clinical Professor in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science at Florida Atlantic University.

  • Medical Editor: Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

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What is the prognosis of Coats' disease?

Blindness of the affected eye may occur as the result of progressive retinal damage. The retinal damage progresses to retinal detachments and loss of vision. If the damage is in the retina and the pupil is white from a secondary cataract, cataract surgery will improve the cosmetic appearance but not the vision.

Although Coats' disease tends to progress to visual loss, it may stop progressing on its own, either temporarily or permanently. Cases have been documented in which the condition even reverses itself. However, once total retinal detachment occurs, sight loss is permanent in most cases. Removal of the eye (enucleation) is an option if pain or further complications arise. In this situation, a prosthesis (artificial eye) may be placed in beneath the eyelid. It is a molded plastic piece which is painted to match the good eye. Often people may not realize that the individual has an abnormality of one eye.

What research is being done on Coats' disease?

Usually, once the diagnosis is made, treatment is of little value. However, anti-angiogenic drugs used for treatment of macular degeneration or diabetes are being evaluated as a potential treatment. For more information, visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov.

If only one eye is involved, the individual may carry on a normal life with minimal restrictions or disability. With one eye, it is still possible to drive a car, read, and carry on an essentially normal lifestyle. The individual still has depth perception, but it is somewhat decreased.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2015

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