Everything to know about retinal vein occlusion (RVO)

The outermost layer of the eyeball that turns the light signals into images, is called the retina. The occlusion of blood vessels taking blood away from the retina is called retinal vein occlusion (RVO). RVO is a serious condition that may affect vision if not timely treated by an Eye specialist in Islamabad

Read on to know more about RVO:

What is retinal vein occlusion?

RVO involves the occlusion of retinal veins, which are blood vessels taking blood away from the retina back to the heart. The blockage of retinal veins causes fluid to build up in the retina and lead to vision changes, inflammation, and even bleeding. Acute blockade due to retinal vein occlusion can damage the eyes within minutes and lead to visual impairment.

What are the causes of retinal vein occlusion?

Some factors that put one at risk of retinal vein occlusion include:

  • Atherosclerosis and hardening of the blood vessels
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Blood dyscrasias
  • Blockage of carotid arteries
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Glaucoma—which damages the optic nerve
  • Age over 60 years
  • The buildup of fluid in the macula
  • Vitreous hemorrhage

What are the symptoms of retinal vein occlusion?

Large retinal vein occlusion presents with sudden visual changes—including blurry vision, partial or complete visual loss—which may be short-term or long-term, depending on how quickly treatment is sought. These symptoms are commonly seen in one eye alone.

In the case of small blockages in the vessels, there may not be symptoms at all in the early phase. Apart from visual loss, other symptoms include  pain in the eye, pressure in the eye, dark spots, or floaters in the vision.

What are the complications of retinal vein occlusion?

Untreated retinal vein occlusion can lead to other more serious complications. These include:

  • Abnormal growth of new blood vessels due to decreased oxygenation and blood supply; this is known as The risk with neovascularization is a buildup of fluid and blood when these fragile blood vessels leak.
  • When the new blood vessels rupture, there is a buildup of fluid and consequent pressure in the eye. This is neovascular glaucoma, which is an emergency.
  • Retinal detachment may occur if the condition is not treat timely, with separation of the retinal layer from the eye tissue.

How is retinal vein occlusion diagnose?

A series of investigations precede the diagnosis of retinal vein occlusion. These investigations start with:

  • Checking the vision and testing the visual acuity
  • Refraction eye exam
  • Checking the pressure within the eye
  • Examining the dilation of the iris
  • Pupillary reflex response
  • Examination of the retina through an ophthalmoscope
  • Retinal photography through optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • Examination of the eye with a slit lamp
  • Visual field examination
  • An important investigation is fluorescein angiography in which a dye is use to trace the path of blood vessels
  • Other investigations to check for diabetes, high cholesterol, hyperviscosity, triglycerides, and blood pressure.

How is retinal vein occlusion treat?

There is no particular treatment for remedying retinal vein occlusion. In most cases, the changes brought on by this condition are irreversible.

  • Injecting anti-VEGF drugs that stop the factors leading to fluid buildup in the retina. These drugs ease the swelling inside the eye.
  • Corticosteroid injections deal with intravascular swelling and inflammation.
  • Focal laser therapy burns blood vessels near the retina, targeting the formation of new, fragile blood vessels and sealing them off before they leak.
  • Laser surgery to make tiny burns on the retina and stop new vessels from forming.

To see improvement with these treatments, patients must be compliant and regularly visit their ophthalmologist, available for booking atoladoc.com.