Diseases of the Retina / Vitreous: Retinal Vein Occlusions
What are Retinal Vein Occlusions?
A Retinal Vein Occlusion is a blockage or obstruction of the veins in the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back wall of the eye and is responsible for vision.
There are two forms of Retinal Vein Occlusions:
- Central Retinal Vein Occlusions (CRVO) – occur when the main retinal vein is blocked, causing the blood flow to be reduced to the entire retina. This can cause a marked decrease in vision, as well as pain with an increase in eye pressure.
- Branch Retinal Vein Occlusions (BRVO) – occur when a branch of the main retinal vein becomes obstructed. Blood flow is reduced in a portion of the retina. The amount of vision loss is usually not as severe as in CRVO.
Learn more about Retinal Vein Occlusions by clicking on the + to the left of each heading.
The cause of a Retinal Vein Occlusion may be discovered through an evaluation of the retina or a general medical evaluation. Sometimes, the source of a Retinal Vein Occlusion cannot be identified, despite testing. The most common risk factors that may contribute to Retinal Vein Occlusion include high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, blood disorders and glaucoma.
Decreased vision is the most common symptom. Other symptoms include floaters or spots in the vision. In severe cases, eye pain can occur as a result of increased eye pressure. Severe cases also can result in vision loss, permanent damage to the eye, and even loss of the eye.
Your eye doctor will use eye drops to dilate, or enlarge your pupils. Dilating the pupils allows your eye doctor to view the back of the eye better. You may need testing, including a fluorescein angiography. Fluorescein angiography is a test that uses a diagnostic agent called fluorescein that is injected into a vein in your arm. It is used to enhance the specialized photograph that is taken to evaluate the retina.
There is no known cure for retina vein occlusion. However, there are several treatments for the condition.
- Intravitreal injections of protein inhibiting drugs, called Anti-VEGF’s, are also administered by the physician directly into the eye during an office visit. These drugs work to decrease the macular edema (macular swelling) associated with the blockage of blood flow into the retina.
- Ozurdex, recently approved by the FDA, is administered into the eye via injection by the physician. The implant delivers an extended dose of a steroid to the retina. In clinical studies, patients achieved an average of a three-line improvement in their vision when reading from an eye chart compared to those patients who received a placebo.
- Laser Treatment may help improve sight in some patients but success is limited. Laser treatment is a high energy beam of light used to seal leaking blood vessels in the hope of reducing swelling in the macula. Laser treatment is performed on an outpatient basis in Retina Consultants’ offices.
Early detection and treatment, is the best way to prevent vision loss. Regular yearly examinations by your eye doctor are extremely important because eye problems can develop at any age. An urgent evaluation is warranted if you have a loss of vision or pain.
Early detection and treatment may reduce the loss of vision from Diabetic Retinopathy. However, if some loss of vision should occur, it doesn’t have to rob you of life’s simplest pleasures if you learn how to use your remaining eyesight to see your best. Low vision aids, special lenses, or electronic systems and training can maximize your ability to read and perform other activities.
The Low Vision Rehabilitation Center of Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida can give you more information about the training and devices available.
Please click on a link below to learn more about Retinal Vein Occlusion
- A randomized trial comparing the efficacy and safety of intravitreal triamcinolone with standard care to treat vision loss associated with macular Edema secondary to branch retinal vein occlusion: the Standard Care vs Corticosteroid for Retinal Vein Occlusion (SCORE) study report 6
- Improved vision-related function after ranibizumab for macular edema after retinal vein occlusion: results from the BRAVO and CRUISE trials.