We Treat Retinal Artery & Vein Occlusions in Wilmington
What Are Retinal Vein Occlusions?
A retinal vein occlusion occurs when one of the veins of the retina becomes blocked and cannot drain blood from the retina normally. This blockage leads to a backup of blood and fluid into the retina. This backup of blood can be seen in the retina as hemorrhages. The amount of swelling in the retina varies and depends on the degree of blockage of the retinal vein.
Two Types of Vein Occlusions
Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO)
If the blockage involves the central vein to the retina, located at the optic nerve, it is called a central retinal vein occlusion. In these cases, hemorrhages can be scattered throughout the retina, and often the central portion of the retina, the macula, can become swollen.
Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion (BRVO)
If the blockage involves only one of the smaller retinal veins, it is called a branch retinal vein occlusion. In these cases, hemorrhages and swelling are limited to the area of the retina that is drained by that particular vein.
Risk Factors for Vein Occlusion
- High blood pressure
- Blood clotting disorders
Symptoms of a retinal vein occlusion can vary based on the severity of the blockage in the vein and the amount of swelling in the retina. Common symptoms include:
- Painless loss of vision
- Blurry vision
- In severe cases, pain from increased eye pressure
There is no cure for a vein occlusion. However, the main reason for decreased vision from a retinal vein occlusion is swelling in the central part of the retina called macular edema. Treatments for swelling include:
- Steroid injection
- Injection with medicines that decrease blood vessel leakage (Avastin™, Lucentis™ and Eylea™)
- Laser treatment
In mild vein occlusions, often there is no significant swelling, and no treatment is indicated. In severe cases of CRVO, abnormal blood vessels can develop that can lead to glaucoma. These cases are often treated with laser and/or injection with a medication to decrease blood vessel leakage. Some patients do require surgery to control eye pressure even after laser or injections.