What is retinal vascular occlusion?

Retinal vascular occlusion is a condition caused by a blockage in the veins or arteries that feed the retina. Constant blood flow is essential for proper retinal function. Any disruption due to a clot or other obstruction can result in a permanent loss of vision.

What are the types of retinal vascular occlusion?

The primary types of retinal vascular occlusion are:

  • Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO)
  • Branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO)
  • Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO)
  • Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO)

What are the symptoms of retinal vascular occlusion?

Symptoms of retinal vascular occlusion may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Image distortion
  • Partial blindness
  • A complete loss of vision
  • New floaters

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of retinal vascular occlusion, please contact California Retina Associates to schedule an evaluation right away. Our doctors can use special technology and testing to look at the internal structures of your eye and identify any problems. Appointments with our San Diego retina specialists can also be made by calling (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755.

How is retinal vascular occlusion diagnosed?

Retinal vascular occlusion is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. The pupil is dilated to get a good look at the retina in the back of the eye. Sometimes the doctor may recommend tests such as fluorescein angiogram, in which dye is injected into an arm vein and travels to the retinal blood vessels, allowing the doctor to evaluate the extent of the blockage. Optical coherence tomography can also be helpful, as it provides a high-definition image of the retina.

What are the risk factors for retinal vascular occlusion?

While the exact causes of retinal vascular occlusion are not always known, some factors that may increase risks include:

  • Existing eye disorders such as macular edema and glaucoma
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Blood disorders
  • A history of blood clots
  • Heart disease

These risk factors for vascular occlusion can be exacerbated by obesity, high blood pressure or cholesterol, and uncontrolled diabetes. You may be able to reduce your risks for this condition by maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise.

How is retinal vascular occlusion treated?

Once blockage occurs, there is no way to reverse it. However, this does not mean that preventing additional vision loss is impossible. Vision can come back in eyes that have had a retinal vein occlusion.

Depending on several factors unique to your situation, our San Diego retina specialists may choose from a variety of treatment options including laser treatments and intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF medications like Avastin. Which of these options is right for your needs will be determined during your appointment at our practice.

It is likely that you will need to inform your primary care physician of your retinal vascular occlusion so that the doctor can evaluate you for other blockages and help manage any systemic illnesses that could have contributed to the problem.

Have Additional Questions about Retinal Vascular Occlusion?

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Diego retina specialists, please call (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755 today.