A retinal vein occlusion is similar to having a stroke in your eye from a blocked artery or vein. At Hawaii Vision Specialists in Hilo, Hawaii, the expert vision care team can treat you if you have a retinal vein occlusion, which can affect your ability to see clearly. To learn more, call the skilled eye doctors at Hawaii Vision Specialists today.
A retinal vein occlusion is a blocked vein or artery in your retina that prevents its ability to drain blood from the affected vein. When this happens, blood and fluid leak from the blocked blood vessels into your eye. Just like a blood clot in your brain, a tiny blood clot in your eye prevents the area from receiving oxygen and nutrients, which leads to damage.
There are two types of retinal vein occlusions: central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) and branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO). With CRVO, a blockage occurs in the main retinal vein, while with BRVO, the blockage happens in a smaller vein.
Typically, retinal vein occlusion is the result of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries that can cause a blood clot to form in your eye. You may be at a higher risk for a developing a retinal vein occlusion if you have:
Additionally, if you smoke or are age 60 or older, these factors can contribute to a retinal vein occlusion.
When blood and fluid leak into the macula — the central part of your retina — it can cause swelling. This is called macular edema, and the swelling in your retina can lead to blurry vision or loss of vision in certain parts of your sight range.
Another way you may lose vision from a retinal vein occlusion is if your retina develops new, abnormal blood vessels. This condition, called neovascularization, may also cause fluid to leak into your eye and create small spots, floaters, or clouds in your field of vision. If severe enough, neovascularization can cause your retina to detach from the back of your eye.
There’s no way to reverse a blockage once a retinal vein occlusion occurs, and your vision will rarely return to normal. However, you may need treatment to prevent another blockage from further damaging your eyes. Managing existing health conditions and risk factors can help, and depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend treatments, such as:
The best way to prevent retinal vein occlusions is to stay healthy and get regular eye exams. Call Hawaii Vision Specialists to book your appointment today.