Central and Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion
Types of Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO)
Your eye’s retina relies on good blood supply to receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly. Retinal arteries carry blood from your heart to your retina, and retinal veins carry the blood from your retina back to your heart.
Central Vein Occlusion
Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the tiny veins of the retina. Central retinal vein occlusion is a blockage of the main retinal vein, and branch retinal vein occlusion is a blockage of one of the smaller branches of this main vein. Both types of RVO affect your ability to see clearly.
When a blockage occurs in the central retinal vein, its effects are felt immediately. As circulation slows, blood and fluid back up near the center of the retina. This macular edema affects the retina’s ability to efficiently receive images, resulting in blurry vision.
Branch Vein Occlusion
With branch retinal vein occlusion, the blockage of a branch vein also creates macular edema, but the reduction in blood flow (ischemia) may be less, as other veins and capillaries continue to carry blood through the retina. This reduces visual acuity, but the effects may be less severe or sudden than a blockage of the central retinal vein.
If you develop a complication like retinal vein occlusion, prompt attention is needed. The trusted team of doctors at Baltimore-area Elman Retina Group have the knowledge and skills to determine the most suitable treatment and restore your retina to good health.
Retinal Vein Occlusion FAQs
What role does high blood pressure play in the development of RVO?
Just as high blood pressure is harmful to other areas of your body, it is also damaging to the veins and capillaries that keep your retina supplied with blood. High blood pressure is also associated with the development of atherosclerosis. Because the “hardened” arteries of atherosclerosis are heavier and less flexible than normal, the main retinal artery can begin to put pressure on the surrounding veins and capillaries, reducing overall flow.
Can RVO be treated in one office visit?
Once you are diagnosed with RVO, you will need to begin ongoing treatment that will allow your Elman Retina Group ophthalmologist to monitor the progression of the disease and administer regular injections to relieve pressure. In approximately one third of cases, RVO can lead to a type of glaucoma known as neovascular glaucoma, which dramatically raises pressure in the eye and threatens your vision.
Are there other possible complications?
Your ophthalmologist also needs to check regularly for any signs of a hemorrhaging. When pressure soars to dangerous levels within the eye, blood begins to leak from the capillaries, blocking light from reaching photoreceptors and partially obscuring vision. For some patients, this kind of hemorrhaging may happen once, but for others it can become a condition that persists for months or years. In some cases of branch RVO, retinal neovascularization appears on the surface of the retina. This is an abnormal growth of new capillaries which may be prone to rupture and hemorrhaging.
Will RVO change the way I live?
One important change you will need to make in your lifestyle is to be very careful when performing activities that require accurate depth perception. Blurred vision in the affected eye will reduce the brain’s ability to process and judge distances accurately. This can affect your dexterity in tasks small and large — everything from pouring hot coffee into a cup without a spill to driving a car without an incident. If your work involves working with heavy machinery or climbing ladders, this may no longer be practical or safe.
Schedule a Consultation with the Team at Elman Retina Group
To discuss any changes to your vision with the doctors at Elman Retina Group, please request an appointment with us today.