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Eye Stroke or Retinal Vein Occlusion

A blockage in a small vein that returns blood from the retina to the heart is referred to as a retinal vein occlusion. This obstruction, typically caused by a blood clot, can result in fluid buildup in the surrounding macular tissue which can seriously impact your vision. Retinal vein occlusions are more common in people with compromised blood vessels from conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, glaucoma and blood disorders that affect clotting. There are two types of retinal vein occlusion: central retinal vein occlusion (blockage of the main retinal vein) and branch retinal vein occlusion (blockage of a smaller branch vein).

What are the symptoms of retinal vein occlusion?

Blurring or loss of vision is the most visual disturbance. This may occur suddenly, and usually only in one eye. Blurring may intensify in the following hours or days. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your eye care professional immediately. Eye stroke can cause permanent damage to your retina and vision loss if not treated.

How is retinal vein occlusion treated?

Treatment of eye stroke with injections of anti-VEGF drugs or steroids is currently the best available therapy. Occasionally laser treatment or vitrectomy may be added in severe or more complicated cases.  Currently, there is no direct surgical method available for restoring of the blood flow in the effected vein. Management of contributing risk factors is essential. In many cases, people with this condition regain partial or nearly full sight. If blood circulation to critical areas of the macula was compromised by the acute event, recovery is more likely to be limited and may be more complicated.

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