Central serous chorioretinopathy (CSCR) is a common retinal cause of vision loss. This review surveys the epidemiology, risk factors, clinical presentation, natural history and pathophysiology of CSCR. Studies suggest an annual incidence rate of 10 per 100 000 in men, with CSCR occurring six times more commonly in men compared with women. Most acute CSCR cases resolve spontaneously within 2–3 months. Prognosis is highly dependent on presenting visual acuity; patients with initial visual acuities of 6/6 remain at that level, while patients with initial visual acuities of less than 6/9 recover on average two to three Snellen lines over the next few years. The main risk factors for CSCR are systemic corticosteroid use, type A personality, pregnancy and endogenous Cushing's syndrome. The pathophysiology of CSCR remains obscure, although disorders in both the choroidal circulation and retinal pigment epithelium are implicated.