Central serous retinopathy afflicts pilots on a regular basis. It is a condition that impairs the vision of the afflicted individual who tends to be under a lot of stress. The increased stress that they experience stimulates the production of a hormone helping the body to better handle the heightened anxiety. Individuals who have CSR levels measuring 50-80% more than most people will be more susceptible to the condition.
Basically the increased fluids build up under the retina detaching it from the supporting muscle. This affects the vision resulting in an out of focus blind spot in the middle of the eye. Other symptoms might be loss of light sensitivity and distorted distant objects.
This must be traumatizing for the pilots. Without good vision they cannot do their job. This brings up questions about regular eye checkups and what they do to relax. Airline pilots are victims of jet lag, lack of sleep and increased tranquilizer use. One wonders how a pilot is able to reduce their stress knowing that they could lose their jobs. It is also interesting to consider if the pilots are compensated for their on the job work hazard.
Data also reveals that the condition will re-occur and each time that happens their vision will deteriorate. If the condition continues for a long stretch of time the retina will no longer receive the nourishment from the muscle and the vision will be permanently damaged.
The pilots in the Israeli Air Force were tested to determine if CSR was apparent. The conclusion indicated that it occurs on a regular basis. Recurrent attacks were dependent on how badly their vision was affected the first time.
Pilots all over the world are at risk as in the case of the Australian pilot who flew commercial transport planes. He is now flying with a limited license since the right eye is permanently damaged. The left one is still in good condition but it could become afflicted too.
Visiting the pilot forums online recent conversations between pilots in the US also confirms their concern of not passing the annual eye examinations. They are given the Flurascein angiogram and the Humphrey Visual Fields.
CSR cannot be clinically treated. Very limited laser procedures have been done in certain cases but there is no proof that these will stop further degeneration of vision or recurrence of attacks. Relaxation is the key to treating this affliction but many pilots are type A personalities and find it difficult to be still long enough to practice relaxing. They need to examine their core values and rebuild from there.
Central serous retinopathy should not be taken lightly. Pilots need to examine how to deal with stress in a more effective way. Yoga and tai chi offer opportunities to learn how to tackle the stress issues but there are many other options too. If their vision has been compromised they need to ask if it might not be better to stop flying altogether in the interest of saving their vision.
CENTRAL SEROUS RETINOPATHY is a impairment which applies to airline pilots at a significant level. CENTRAL SEROUS RETINOPATHY and Stress are associated because of the increased levels of cortisol in the eye, causing vision loss.