Visual System Affected

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Retinoschisis is an eye disease that is characterized by the abnormal splitting of the retina’s neurosensory layers, typically in the outer plexiform layer, resulting in a loss of vision in the corresponding visual field in some rarer forms. More common forms are usually asymptomatic.

Visual System Affected

Retinoschisis affects two primary aspects of vision. First, the central vision is frequently impaired. Visual acuity is retinoschisis typically ranges from 20/30 to 20/200. The acuity loss is caused by the formation of tiny cysts in the retina. Second, peripheral vision may be lost due to the splitting of the inner layer of nerve cells from the outer layer of cells.

Effects on the Condition of the Visual System

Retinal detachments may occur if the anchoring of the outer layer of the retina to the eye wall is impaired. Since retinoschisis patients are more susceptible to retinal detachments, regular exams with an ophthalmologist are important.

Common Treatments of Retinoschisis

When detected early, retinal detachments may be treated surgically. However, most splitting or schisis of the retina cannot be corrected by medication or surgery.

Description of Retinoschisis

Retinoschisis is an inherited disease and is usually diagnosed between the age of 5 and 10 years. Near and central vision is primarily affected. The reduction of vision varies from child to child, and most children can be mainstreamed for school. Vision will deteriorate very slowly with most individuals retaining their vision into the 5th or 6th decade. Occasionally retinoschisis is complicated by retinal detachment which may require surgical correction. There is no definitive treatment for retinoschisis, and corrective eyeglasses may be useful. Also, visual aids can help magnify school work. Genetic counseling can help identify family members who are carriers of the retinoschisis gene.

Functional Implications of Retinoschisis

Low vision aids, mobility training, and adaptive training skills can help individuals with vision loss. All of these will allow an individual to receive an education, become independent, and eventually acquire a job. Although few affected by retinoschisis go completely blind, some sufferers have very limited reading vision and are considered “legally blind”.

Forms of the Disease

Degenerative Retinoschisis

Degenerative retinoschisis is very common with a prevalence of up to 7 percent in normal persons, and has an unknown etiology. Degenerative retinoschisis in not known to be a genetically inherited condition.

Hereditary Retinoschisis

This form of retinoschisis is a much less common form of the disease, and affects one in 5,000 to 25,000individuals, mostly young males. Visual acuity can be reduced to less than 20/200 in both eyes. If the retinoschisis involves the macula, then the high-resolution central area of vision used to view detail is lost, and this is one form of macular disease,

Tractional Retinoschisis

This may be present in conditions causing traction on the retina, especially at the macula.

Exudative Retinoschisis

This form of the disease involves the central part of the retina secondary to an optic disc pit and was erroneously thought to be a serious retinal detachment.


Kugler, M. (2005, October 01). Juvenile Retinoschisis causes progressive loss of vision.

Retrieved July 1, 2010 from


Retinoschisis. (n.d.). Retrieved July 1, 2010 from http://medical-dictionary.the

Retinoschisis. (n.d.). Retrieved July 1, 2010 from


Retinoschisis. (n.d.). Retrieved July 1, 2010 from


What is Retinoschisis?-Kellogg Eye Center. (n.d.). Retrieved July 1, 2010 from
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