Patient Care

Retinal Artery & Vein Occlusion

What are Retinal Artery & Vein Occlusion?

Retinal Artery or Vein Occlusion belongs to the category of retinal vascular disorders. Normally occuring in older patients with signs of systemic vascular disease i.e. hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and heart disease, it happens when one or more of the blood vessels in the eye becomes blocked, causing water to build up and the retina not being able to function appropriately, resulting in visual loss. The extent of visual loss is dependent on the number of blood vessels that become blocked.

Classication of retinal vascular disorders include -

  • Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO)
    Occurs when a branch vein in the eye is blocked.
  • Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO)
    Occurs when all the veins in the eye is blocked.
  • Branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO)
    Occurs when there is blockage of a small artery in the eye.
  • Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO)
    Occurs due to blockage of the main artery of the eye. Disease results in sudden painless loss of vision.
What are the causes of Retinal Artery & Vein Occlusion?

Some known factors that increase risk include:

  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Blood clots, blockage or narrowing in the carotid arteries of the neck
  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Being overweight
  • Intravenous (IV) drug use
  • Being over the age of 60
  • Glaucoma
  • Smoking
  • Inflammatory disorders (giant cell arteritis)
  • Rare blood disorders
What are the signs & symptoms of Retinal Artery & Vein Occlusion?

Symptoms include a sudden change in vision i.e. blurry vision, or a partial or complete loss of vision. If you exhibit the symptoms above, see your doctor immediately.

What are the treatment options for Retinal Artery & Vein Occlusion?

There is no medication currently available for retinal artery occlusions. Most people with this condition will have permanent changes to their vision.

Common treatment for retinal vein occlusion include:

  • Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drugs
  • Corticosteroid drugs
  • Laser therapy

The outlook depends on the severity of the condition. Many people will recover and regain most of their vision capabilities, but not all. It is possible that the vision will not return. Other eye conditions or complications will affect recovery.

Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

You can search by -
  • Condition name 'Retinal Artery Occlusion' or 'Retinal Vein Occlusion' AND
  • Institution
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