a) What is eccentric disciform degeneration?
Eccentric disciform degeneration is an abnormal growth of blood vessels underneath the retina. These vessels are very fragile and can bleed or scar over. This is not a type of cancer although the degeneration can look similar to melanoma or other cancers of the eye. This mainly occurs in elderly people with up to half of patients having macular degeneration. Other names for this condition include peripheral exudative haemorrhagic chorioretinopathy (PEHCR), extra-macular disciform degeneration and peripheral age related retinal degeneration.
b) What are the symptoms of Eccentric Disciform Degeneration?
There may be no symptoms. If leakage from the abnormal blood vessels track down to the macula (the centre of the back of the eye) then blurring or distortion of the vision may occur. Sometimes this can cause a retinal detachment. This may cause floaters, flashing lights, or a shadow in the corner of the vision. When looking at the back of the eye in the clinic the abnormal area appears flat irregular and red or pale.
c) What are the risks of getting eccentric disciform degeneration?
The following features increase your risk of getting this condition:
• Over 70 years of age
• High blood pressure (hypertension)
• On medicine that thin the blood (Anticoagulant therapy)
• Short or long sighted (Myopia or hypermetropia)
d) Will I need any tests?
To confirm eccentric disciform degeneration and exclude cancer we may have to perform a few tests. These may include:
• Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
• Ultrasound scan
• Fundus Fluorescein Angiography (FFA)
These tests may be repeated at future appointments and help us pick up changes.
e) What is the treatment for eccentric disciform degeneration?
Monitoring in the eye clinic is sometimes all that is required. This condition regularly gets better without treatment. Laser photocoagulation treatment can be used in the clinic to seal off the leaking blood vessels and prevent the swelling and leakage getting worse.