Retinal Vascular Occlusion

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A retinal vascular occlusion means that a vein or artery in the retina, the light sensing tissue at the back of the eye, has become blocked. This blockage or occlusion prevents adequate blood flow in the affected area. The walls of the vein may leak blood and excess fluid into the retina.

There are two types of retinal vein occlusion:

Likewise, there are two types of retinal artery occlusion:

Retinal vascular occlusions are more common in people who have glaucoma, diabetes, age-related vascular diseases, high blood pressure or blood disorders.

Blurred vision is the main symptom of retinal vein occlusion. It occurs when the excess fluid leaking from the vein collects in the macula.

After a complete eye examination, the ophthalmologist may order blood tests or a fluorescein angiogram. The eye doctor may also suggest visiting the primary physician to rule out or manage any associated medical problems.

There is no cure for retinal vein occlusion. The eye doctor may recommend a period of observation, since hemorrhages and excess fluid may subside on their own.

Laser therapy may improve sight in some patients with BRVO and macular edema, but vision does not usually return to normal. Laser therapy is not as helpful in CRVO, but new types of treatment are being evaluated, including injections of medicine into the eye.

The eye doctor will decide which treatment is appropriate for each case and frequent follow up examinations are essential.