Retinal vein occlusion is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. The retina is the layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye that converts light images to nerve signals and sends them to the brain.
Retinal vein occlusion is most often caused by hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and the formation of a blood clot.
Blockage of smaller veins (branch veins or BRVO) in the retina often occurs when retinal arteries that have been thickened or hardened by atherosclerosis cross over and place pressure on a retinal vein.
Risk factors for retinal vein occlusion include:
Because the risk of these disorders increases with age, retinal vein occlusion most often affects older people.
Blockage of retinal veins may cause other eye problems, including:
Sudden blurring or vision loss in all or part of one eye
Exams and Tests
Tests to evaluate for vein occlusion include:
Other tests may include:
It's important to manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels. Some patients may receive aspirin or other blood thinners.
Treatment for the complications of retinal vein occlusion may include:
The outcome varies. Patients with retinal vein occlusion often regain useful vision.
It is important to properly manage complications, such as macular edema and glaucoma. However, having either of these complications is more likely to lead to a poor outcome.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have sudden blurring or vision loss.
Retinal vein occlusion is a sign of a general blood vessel (vascular) disease. The same measures used to prevent other blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease, may decrease the risk of retinal vein occlusion.
These measures include:
Central retinal vein occlusion; Branch retinal vein occlusion; CRVO; BRVO
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