Retinal Vein Occlusion

A retinal vein occlusion results when one of the veins in the retina becomes blocked, causing blurriness or loss of vision.

When one of the veins in the retina becomes either partially or completely blocked with a blood clot, this blockage is known as a retinal vein occlusion. Once the retinal vein occlusion develops, it restricts blood flow out of the retina, which can lead to swelling of the retinal tissue and leaking blood vessels. Retinal vein occlusion can be associated with other systemic or eye diseases, including hypertension and glaucoma.

Retinal vein occlusion symptoms

When a retinal vein occlusion occurs, it is often painless. Some indicators of the presence of a retinal vein occlusion may include:

  • Blurriness
  • Blindness in one eye

In some cases, the vision will improve or come back in the affected eye. This may be gradual, occurring over many months.

Retinal vein occlusion risk factors

People who are over the age of 55 and who have high blood pressure are at the greatest risk for developing a retinal vein occlusion.

Retinal vein occlusion and macular edema

In people who have retinal vein occlusion, macular edema – a serious retinal disorder due to retinal vein occlusion – is the most common cause of vision loss. It results when retinal veins leak fluid, causing the macula to swell and thereby resulting in blurred vision.

Retinal vein occlusion types

There are two types of retinal vein occlusion:

  • Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO): CRVO is the more severe form of a retinal occlusion and happens when the central or main vein in the retina becomes blocked. You are at greater risk for developing CRVO if you have high blood pressure.
  • Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO): BRVO is the most common form of retinal occlusion and happens when one of the smaller veins in the retina becomes blocked.

Retinal vein occlusion treatment

A retinal vein occlusion cannot be removed. Retinal vein occlusion treatment focuses on preventing more occlusions from happening and treating any associated vision and health issues. Treatment also depends on the type of retinal vein occlusion.

Your personal retinal vein occlusion treatment plan may include:

  • Adopting healthier changes in your lifestyle
  • Medications to manage high blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Intraocular injection of medications to control vessel leakage due to retinal vein occlusion
  • Laser surgery to prevent abnormal vessel growth

At Henry Ford, patients come first.

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, personalized care. We feature the most advanced treatments in eye care and are dedicated to vision research – always staying at the forefront of innovation. A leader in Michigan, as well as one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the United States, we treat more than 55,000 patients per year at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it.

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