Birdshot Chorioretinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


What is Birdshot Chorioretinopathy (BCR)?

Birdshot Chorioretinopathy (BCR) is a rare, autosomal-dominant eye disease caused by inflammatory damage to the choroid and retina. It causes progressive damage to the retina, over time leading to loss of vision. BCR is most common in older adults and is most frequently found in people with northern European or Scandinavian ancestry.

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What are the Causes of Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

BCR is caused by mutations in the HLA-A*2902 gene. It can be further inherited as an autoimmune disorder, passed down through a family history of autoimmune diseases. BCR is also associated with other autoinflammatory disorders, such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS), Quervain’s osteoarthritis (QOA), Reiter’s syndrome (RS), and uveitis.

What are the Symptoms of Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

BCR can cause a variety of symptoms including:

  • Blurriness or loss of vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Double vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Decreased night vision
  • Sensitivity to light

How is Birdshot Chorioretinopathy Diagnosed?

BCR is usually diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam. Your doctor will check your vision and perform an OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography), to check the condition of your retina. They may also order an HLA-B27 gene test to determine if you have an inherited form of the disease.

What is the Treatment for Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

Currently, there is no cure for BCR. Treatment usually focuses on managing the symptoms, preventing further damage to the eyes, and preserving visual function.

Treatment may include:

  • Steroid medication to reduce inflammation
  • Immunomodulatory drugs to suppress the immune system
  • Intravitreal injections to reduce macular edema
  • Laser photocoagulation to treat any abnormal blood vessels
  • Low vision aids and visual rehabilitation

What is the Prognosis for Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

BCR is a progressive disease and can eventually lead to vision loss and blindness. However, early diagnosis and treatment can slow the progress of the disease and help preserve vision.

Tips for Managing Birdshot Chorioretinopathy

Regular Eye Check-Ups

It is important to visit your ophthalmologist regularly to monitor the progress of the disease and to ensure that any changes in vision are detected as soon as possible.

Take Medications As Prescribed

Take medications as prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking medications without speaking to your doctor first.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Maintaining a balanced diet helps keep your body healthy and could help reduce inflammation.

Protect Your Eyes

Protect your eyes from the sun and other environmental hazards by wearing sunglasses and a hat when outdoors.

Take Breaks from Electronics

Take regular breaks from your electronic devices, such as computers and phones, to give your eyes a rest.

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