Retinoschisis is a genetic eye disease that splits the retina, the light-sensitive layer of cells lining the back of the eye. It occurs in two forms, one affecting young children, the other affecting older adults. Both forms usually affect both eyes, though one eye may be worse than the other.
Because the disease is inherited on the X chromosome, childhood retinoschisis occurs in boys more than girls. It is usually detected because of poor vision.
Retinoschisis has different affects on the eye and vision depending on the location of the split. If the split retina involves the peripheral (side) retina, peripheral vision is lost. Retinal detachment is another risk associated with retinoschisis. More commonly, retinoschisis affects the macula, the area of the retina responsible for central vision. If the split retina is in this location, one loses central vision.
Peripheral retinoschisis is more common in adults and is usually caused by aging. In this case, it usually does not affect vision, but it can cause a retinal detachment. If detected early, a retinal detachment can be treated with surgery or laser therapy.