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 RVO 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. Sometimes, you can lose all vision suddenly.

Who is at risk for RVO?

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

  • diabetes

  • glaucoma

  • hardening of the arteries (called arteriosclerosis)



To lower your risk for CRVO, you should do the following:

  • eat a low-fat diet

  • get regular exercise

  • maintain an ideal weight

  • don’t smoke


How is RVO treated?

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.

It usually takes a few months after treatment before you notice your vision improving. While most people see some improvement in their vision, some people won’t have any improvement.

Please call now to schedule an appointment to be evaluated for Retinal Vein Occlusion. 

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