Coats Disease: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 8/21/2020

Coats disease is a rare disease of the eye that can progress to vision loss and blindness. In this condition, abnormal blood vessels in the retina of the eye become dilated and leak fluid. It tends to affect males more than females and to appear at about 8-10 years of age.

The most common symptom associated with Coats disease is vision loss in one eye. Other symptoms and signs can include the

  • perception of flashing lights or
  • floaters in one eye.

The vision loss is usually gradual. While Coats disease is painless, the fluid buildup due to the leaky blood vessel can cause increased pressure (glaucoma) to occur, which may cause pain late in the disease course. Other signs include

  • eye wandering,
  • resulting in misaligned eyes (strabismus), and a
  • white, gray, or pinkish reflection from the pupil (leukocoria) that are visible in photographs taken with a flash.

Cause of Coats disease

The exact cause of the condition is not known.

Other coats disease symptoms and signs

  • Eye Wandering
  • Floaters in one Eye
  • Gradual Vision Loss
  • Perception of Flashing Lights
  • Resulting in Misaligned Eyes (Strabismus)
  • White, Gray, or Pinkish Reflection From the Pupil (Leukocoria) That Are Visible in Photographs Taken With a Flash

Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.