The retina is a complex system comprised of layers of photoreceptors that process light, allowing you to see clearly. A steady stream of blood supply of nutrients and oxygen is necessary for the retina to function properly. If vessels carrying this blood supply become blocked or obstructed, this is referred to as retinal vascular occlusion. Occlusions can cause fluid to build up, blocking the retina’s photoreceptors from processing light, resulting in vision loss. Retinal vascular occlusions are a common retinal disease and cause of vision loss in older adults. In fact, 90% of patients suffering from retinal occlusions are over the age of 50.
Types of Retinal Vein Occlusions
Different types of retinal vascular occlusions vary in the severity of vision loss and are defined by where they occur in the vasculature of the retina. Blockages in smaller retinal veins are referred to as branch retinal vein occlusions (BRVO). In contrast, blockages in the retina’s main vein are referred to as central retinal vein occlusions (CRVO). CRVO and BRVO are serious and require immediate attention from a retina specialist.
Causes and Treatments
As you age, you are more prone to experiencing retinal vascular occlusion. However, age is not the only factor in developing retinal vascular occlusion. Those with high blood pressure, diabetes, blood clotting disorders, inflammation or obese or chronic smokers are also at risk.
If you have symptoms like blurred vision, blind or dark spots, or eye pain, you must see a retina specialist, as there is the possibility of vision loss if left untreated. Treatments might include laser therapy or injections to inhibit the abnormal growth of blood vessels. Call our office at 954-772-3337 for an appointment with one of our board-certified retinal specialists – Dr. Burgess, Dr. Lara, and Dr. Villate – to determine if you have symptoms that could result from a retinal vascular occlusion or if you have been diagnosed with a retinal vein occlusion or other retinal diseases.