What Is Birdshot Chorioretinopathy (BSRC) And How Can It Affect You?

Did you know that birdshot chorioretinopathy effects 1.5% population?

Birdshot chorioretinopathy also commonly referred to as birdshot retinochoroidopathy. Whether you’re interested in learning about the common causes of birdshot chorioretinopathy or if you’ve been recently diagnosed with this disease, understanding what birdshot chorioretinopathy is is essential. While birdshot chorioretinopathy is considered a rare disease, knowing symptoms to look out for and how to get yourself tested early for this disease can save your life.

That’s why today, this complete guide was created to help you understand what birdshot chorioretinopathy is and the primary causes behind this disease. Keep reading to learn more! 

What Is Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

Birdshot chorioretinopathy is a chronic, bilateral, posterior uveitis. Posterior uveitis is the medical term to refer to information in the uvea. 

The uvea is the portion of the eye that provides the retina with the majority of its blood supply.

Many people refer to birdshot chorioretinopathy as “birdshot” for short.

The retina is the layer of cells that sensitive to light that’s located in the back of your eye. Your retina is the part of your eye that is responsible for your ability to see.

Some of the most commonly found characteristics of birdshot chorioretinopathy are the white–yellow lesions in the fundus.

Birdshot chorioretinopathy can be hypothesized as a result of the body’s immune response to retinal s antigens, there’s a strong genetic risk factor to this disease. Thankfully, there is testing available to identify if the genetic risk factor is located in your body or not.

What Are the Symptoms of Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

The first onset of symptoms that people usually experience with birdshot development is floaters in the vision. Floaters are the wavy lines or the black dots that move across your field of vision. Another common symptom the people first experience when they first develop birdshot is blurred vision.

However, since these symptoms are the first and only signs that people will see the disease’s onset, it’s very difficult for people to notice.

Some people did notice that their symptoms appeared out of nowhere. The people who notice the immediate onset of their symptoms often also experienced difficulty seeing in low-light situations, where their eyes hurt, or sensitivity to bright light.

 As the disease progresses, other people begin to experience:

  • Pain in the eyes
  •  Vision distortion
  • Seeing flashing lights in vision
  •  Sensitivity to bright lights
  •  Nighttime vision loss
  •  Problems with seeing color
  •  Difficulty with peripheral vision
  •  Loss of depth perception 

While birdshot chorioretinopathy symptoms will vary from each unique person, most people diagnosed with this condition will notice but have inflammation in their eyes. If left untreated, the occurrence of inflammation in the eye could potentially cause blinding damage to the affected eye.

The progression of this disease is gradual in most people. Over time, people will gradually lose their vision in both of their eyes. For most people, this is painless.

In the first stages of birdshot chorioretinopathy, people are able to identify that they have trouble differentiating between different colors. Some people also report having problems seeing at night.

This disease is chronic and will be with a person for the rest of their life. However, receiving consistent and raise our treatment will reduce the chances of the person that is suffering from going permanently blind. 

What Are the Causes of Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

At this time, the causes of birdshot chorioretinopathy haven’t been identified. Many medical professionals believe that this is a disease autoimmune.

An autoimmune disease is when the immune system in the body gets confused and begins to attack tissues, muscles, and organs inside of its own body. Research is still being completed to attempt to identify what triggers birdshot chorioretinopathy.

However, research has found that many people who suffer from birdshot chorioretinopathy have a gene that’s referred to as a human leukocyte antigen. Many medical professionals find the human leukocyte antigen in people who are suffering from birdshot is the HLA-A29 antigen.

This antigen will enter into the body, causing your body to produce an antibody to fight against the antigen. People who test positive for the HLA-A29 antigen have a type of immune dysfunction. What that means they have an overactive immune response are weakened immune response will depend on the health of the person being tested. 

Who Is Primarily Affected by Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

Birdshot chorioretinopathy is more commonly found in people that are descendants from Nothern Europe. Birdshot chorioretinopathy accounts for up to 8% of posterior uveitis cases. The prevalence of birdshot chorioretinopathy in the United States is one person affected is out of every 200,000 people.

Then researchers haven’t been able to identify the common causes of birdshot, identifying the people that primarily suffer from this disease hasn’t been pinpointed yet. However, medical professionals have found that more women suffer from this disease than men do.

The majority of people who suffer from this disease are Caucasian and between the age of 30 and 60. If left undiagnosed or untreated for a long. Of time, birdshot chorioretinopathy can cause permanent blindness.

What Is the Testing Process for Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

As more is being uncovered and learned about birdshot chorioretinopathy, new testing practices are becoming available. Currently, medical professionals will order a blood test for HLA-A29 to see if this is present in the bloodstream. However, not all people but birdshot chorioretinopathy are positive for HLA-A29. 

If the birdshot chorioretinopathy has progressed to a severe stage, an ophthalmologist will be able to identify and orange-colored or cream-colored oval-shaped spot in the retina. The unique pattern of the spot is what gives this disease the name birdshot chorioretinopathy.

While the below-listed testing methods are used in the diagnostic process for birdshot, a clinical examination is an essential tool for a proper diagnosis. A physician will go through a full history and analysis of symptoms to help evaluate the cause of other potential autoimmune or infectious causes.

A physician will identify the amount of inflammation located in the front of the eye. A dilated exam can help medical professionals to identify any collection of inflammatory cells or debris in the power of the optic nerve, the retinal vessels, the macular edema, or the retinal vasculitis.

During a dilated eye exam, a physician will also look for the identity of any birdshot lesions. If a physician is unable to identify any of these above-listed traits, they may use the below listed diagnostic tools to identify the development of birdshot chorioretinopathy. 

Electroretinography

An ERG will record your eye’s electrical response from the stimulation of a brief flash of light. Depending on your medical professional’s preferences, you may undergo a multifocal ERG, a full field ERG, or a pattern ERG. 

Electrooculography

Electrooculography is a medical technique that will measure the retinal pigment epithelium cells. While this medical technique is not as commonly used for birdshot chorioretinopathy testing as it once was, it still is a valid option for testing.

Since the cordial lesions that are commonly found with BRCS are found right under the retinal pigment epithelium cells, Electrooculography tests will be able to identify the choroidal lesions.  

Are There Any Treatment Options Available for Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

At this time, there is no treatment available for birdshot chorioretinopathy. This is mainly because the condition is so rare, so there haven’t been any conditions outlined to establish a treatment guideline.

If you only have a mild form of birdshot, it may not be necessary for you to receive any treatment. In more severe instances, the treatment that you receive will have to be tailored to the medical test results and your personal medical history. 

The treatment option for birdshot is dependent upon the severity of the individual’s symptoms. Many of the therapies available aim to treat the body’s immune response, since birdshot chorioretinopathy is thought to be a type of autoimmune disease

How Is Birdshot Chorioretinopathy Treated?

Since birdshot is such a rare disease, it can often be misdiagnosed as another medical condition. In other instances, the possible diagnosis is completely missed altogether. 

This is especially common when there isn’t the development of any bird shot spots that are easy to see in the eye.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single test that can be completed to diagnose this disease. In most patients, eye tests are done to rule out a variety of common eye diseases. 

As with all types of uveitis, the information identified in birdshot chorioretinopathy has to be greatly reduced. If left untreated, there is a severe risk of the patient developing permanent blindness.

Let’s take a closer look at the most common treatment options for people suffering from this disease.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are the most common way that positions tree non-infectious uveitis. However, in individuals with birdshot, how corticosteroids are administered to the patient will directly impact the course of the disease.

Individuals that receive oral corticosteroids have shown to have a higher chance of the disease reoccurring, even after long-term remission. However, an individual who received an injection in the eye of corticosteroid doesn’t seem to have any problems with another occurrence of birdshot occurrence.

The alternative of receiving corticosteroids through topical eye drops that aren’t as effective in treating information is located at the back of the eye.

Immunomodulatory Therapy

Immunomodulatory therapy is the most commonly used form of treatment for birdshot chorioretinopathy. The therapy involves suppressing the immune system in order to reduce the immune system’s response in the body. This will result in reduce swelling because autoimmune response won’t be as strong, leading to a reduction in the impact on the progression of the disease. 

Corticosteroid Implant 

A corticosteroid Implant will be surgically implanted into the eye. This treatment option is commonly used for people that aren’t able to achieve remission. It is also used for people who aren’t able to withstand immunomodulatory therapy. 

What Other Health Conditions Associated With Birdshot Chorioretinopathy?

If untreated for too long, other health conditions can develop as a result of birdshot chorioretinopathy. These health conditions are:

  • Glaucoma- is treated with eye drops and laser surgery
  • Cataracts- can be removed with surgical treatment
  • Retina- treatment with topical NSAIDS to reduce inflammation and the epiretinal membranes removed if the vision is getting progressively worse. 

The treatment options for these health conditions will vary depending upon the severity of healthy health conditions and the person’s tolerance.

Finding Ways to Manage Your Symptoms of Birdshot Chorioretinopathy

Birdshot chorioretinopathy is the chronic inflammation of choroid. This disease affects the retinal vessels and the retina while also affecting the vision in both eyes. This rare disease can be potentially blinding if left untreated and unmanaged for a long enough period of time. 

While the causes of birdshot chorioretinopathy aren’t known, many medical professionals believe that it is an autoimmune disease. This disease most likely to develop in middle-aged people.

Does your family have a history of birdshot chorioretinopathy or are you worried that you may have the symptoms that align with this rare disease? You should consider using this birdshot chorioretinopathy testing kit to identify in markers for this disease in yourself! 

Are you interested in taking control of your health? Whether you’re interested in disease association testing, drug sensitivity testing, or a customized diet plan based on your DNA results, there’s help available for you.

You can also find comprehensive genetic panels available if you don’t feel like your symptoms or family history aligns with the birdshot chorioretinopathy disease. 

Check out the available kits to take control of your health! 

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