Central Retinal Vein Occlusion

A retinal vein occlusion occurs when a vein in the retina becomes blocked, leading to a backflow and stagnation of blood in the retina. This backflow causes hemorrhages and leakage of fluid into the retinal nerve tissue. With incomplete circulation, the eye becomes deprived of oxygen and nutrients and can be permanently damaged. Depending on the location of the blockage, two different types of retinal vein occlusions are possible. A central occlusion involves the main vein in the eye and a branch occlusion affects a smaller branch of a vein.

Central Retinal Vein Occlusion

Symptoms

Vision loss and pain are characteristic symptoms of a retinal vein occlusion. Retinal swelling (edema), loss of blood supply (ischemia), and abnormal blood vessel growth (neovascularization) are all associated with the condition.

Causes

Certain diseases can increase the risk of developing a retinal vein occlusion. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, certain blood disorders, atherosclerosis and glaucoma. There is a ten percent risk that a vein occlusion will occur in the second eye of a previously affected individual.

Treatments

Treatment options for retinal vein occlusions include laser surgery and intraocular injections of medications that prohibit abnormal blood vessel growth (anti-VEGF drugs) and anti-inflammatory agents (corticosteroids). In some cases, surgery may be recommended to control complications. Managing any contributing health issues is very important.