Artery/Vein Occlusion

Retinal Artery Occlusion occurs when the artery delivering blood to the retina is blocked, or occluded. Any occlusion may also be known as a “stroke” in the eye.

Central Retinal Artery Occlusion (CRAO) refers to the closure of the central retinal artery and usually results in complete loss of vision in one eye.

Branch Retinal Artery Occlusion (BRAO) refers to the blockage of a branch of the retinal artery, usually results only in loss of a portion of the field of vision in one eye.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Transient vision loss (some cases).
  • Complete or partial loss of vision in one eye, this vision loss is sudden and painless.

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can restore vision lost from an artery occlusion.


Causes

The following risk factors increase the risk of retinal artery occlusion:

  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma

If you have had an artery occlusion you should make sure your health is being properly managed by your medical doctor.


Retinal Vein Occlusion occurs when the vein that takes blood away from the retina is blocked or occluded. This blockage can cause the retina to become filled with blood and swelling of the macula (macular edema).

Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion (BRVO) refers to closure of a branch of the central vein.

Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO) refers to the closure of the main vein of the eye, causing moderate to severe vision loss.


Symptoms and Complications

  • Blurry/decreased vision.
  • Swelling of the macula.
  • Abnormal blood vessel growth(NVE). NVE can lead to bleeding, retinal detachments and in more advanced cases the eye can become extremely painful.

artery_vein_occlusion

This is a view of the retina from the front. It is what the doctor sees when looking into your eye. The blue dotted line points to an artery / vein crossing point, where the vein may be blocked.

Treatment:

Unfortunately there is no treatment that will reverse the damage done by vein occlusions, however there are treatments that may be need to treat the complications and help prevent further vision loss.

For many years the treatment for vein occlusions included laser and/or surgery to help decrease swelling or help prevent abnormal blood vessel growth. FDA has now approved the use of Macugen or Lucentis to help reduce the swelling of the retina and help stabilize or improve vision. These drugs are anti-growth hormones that are injected into the eye to help decrease leakage and abnormal blood vessel growth. Recent studies between anti-growth hormones and laser treatment alone, has shown a significant improvement in vision with the injections.

Tests are performed in the office to diagnose the vein occlusion and help determine the best treatment.


Causes

The following risk factors increase the risk of retinal vein occlusion:

  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma

If you have had an artery occlusion you should make should your health is being properly managed by your medical doctor.