Vascular occlusion occurs when a vein or artery becomes blocked, generally due to a blood clot. At California Retina Associates, we focus on vascular or vein occlusions that occur in the retina, which are known as retinal vascular occlusions. This type of blockage can rob the retina of the nutrients it needs for optimal health and function.

Types of Vascular Occlusion

There are four types of retinal vascular occlusion:

  • Branch retinal vein occlusion
  • Branch retinal artery occlusion
  • Central retinal vein occlusion
  • Central retinal artery occlusion

With all four types, a blockage in the vein or artery allows fluids to build up, preventing your retina from properly filtering light. Blockages in the central vein and artery are more dangerous than those in branches, but all retinal vascular occlusion is dangerous and may lead to vision loss.

Retinal Vascular Occlusion Risk Factors

The reason for a blockage in the retinal veins is not always understood. However, experts believe the following are risk factors for retinal vascular occlusion:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

Retinal Vascular Occlusion Symptoms

Early signs of retinal vascular occlusion are often detected during regularly scheduled eye exams at our San Diego-area offices. If retinal vascular occlusion is suspected during the regular course of your examination, we will recommend additional tests to make a certain diagnosis.

When not detected during your eye examinations, symptoms of retinal vascular occlusion may include sudden vision changes such as:

  • Blurriness
  • Partial loss of vision
  • Complete loss of vision

Retinal vascular occlusion typically affects only one eye and the changes it causes can be permanent or temporary depending on your unique situation. In less serious situations, your condition may improve on its own or with simple treatments such as eye massage or increasing carbon dioxide levels by breathing into a paper bag. However, if we suspect a threat to your vision, we may suggest treatment options such as oral and/or injected medications or laser therapy. Your treatment is best determined by one of the retina specialists at our office.

Questions about Retinal Vascular Occlusion

Retinal vascular occlusion is not always a threat to your vision, but when it is, prompt action is required. As one of only a handful of practices that focuses on disorders of the retina, the eye doctors at California Retina Associates have the special training necessary to help ensure successful treatment. We can answer any questions about vascular occlusion that you may have.

Hypertensive Retinopathy

Sometimes the sensitive blood vessels in the eye can become damaged due to a complication of high blood pressure. This condition is known as hypertensive retinopathy. If left untreated, hypertensive retinopathy can lead to complete vision loss. Fortunately, the team at California Retina Associates can diagnose and treat the condition quickly.

Contact California Retina Associates

If you have experienced vision changes in one or both eyes that could indicate retinal vascular occlusion, please contact California Retina Associates online or call (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755 to schedule an appointment at one of our San Diego locations today.