Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO)
Arteries and veins carry blood throughout the eyes. The eye has one main artery and one main vein that each have multiple branches. When the main retinal vein becomes blocked, it is called central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). If only a branch vein is occluded, the condition is called branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO). When the vein is blocked, blood and fluid spills out into the retina. The macula can swell from this fluid, affecting your central vision. Eventually, without blood circulation, nerve cells in the eye can die and you can lose more vision.
The most common symptom of retinal vein occlusion is vision loss or blurry vision in part or all of one eye. It can happen suddenly or become worse over several hours or days.
The blocked vein in RVO cannot be unblocked. The main goal of treatment is to keep your vision stable. This is usually done by sealing off any leaking blood vessels in the retina. This helps prevent further swelling of the macula. RVO can be treated with injection of certain medications into the eye called anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) drugs (Avastin, Lucentis, Eylea). Anti-VEGF treatment helps reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in your retina and prevent them from leaking fluid or blood. This medicine is delivered to your eye through a very slender needle injection under aseptic (clean) conditions.
If your RVO is very severe, you may need to have a form of laser surgery. This is called panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) laser. A laser is used to make tiny burns to areas of the retina. This helps lower the chance of bleeding in the eye and keeps eye pressure from rising too much. Learn more about RVO here
Risk For Retinal Vein Occlusion
Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) usually happens in people who are aged 50 and older.
People who have the following health problems have a greater risk of RVO:
- high blood pressure
- hardening of the arteries (called arteriosclerosis)
Lower Your Risk for Central Retinal Vein Occlusion
- Eat a low-fat diet
- Get regular exercise
- Maintain an ideal weight
- Don’t smoke