Retinal Vein Occlusion

What is Retinal Vein Occlusion?

Retinal veins carry blood from the retina back to the heart for re-circulation. A retinal vein occlusion is when a vein in the retinal circulation has become blocked. If one of these veins becomes blocked a pressure build up can cause leakage of blood and fluid in the retina.  This blockage can cause haemorrhages, swelling, and ischemia (lack of oxygen) of the retina.

Symptoms of Retinal Vein Occlusion

  • Blurred vision is the main symptom of a retinal vein occlusion.  This occurs when the excess fluid leaking from the blocked vein collects at the macula (the area of the retina responsible for central vision).
  • Floaters can be another sign of a retinal vein occlusion.  They appear as ‘spots’ which float around the vision.  When an area of the retina is not working properly abnormal blood vessels may grow (neovascularisation).  These abnormal blood vessels are fragile and can cause bleeding or leakage of fluid into the vitreous (jelly-like substance which fills the eye).  Floaters may be noted when this occurs.
  • Pain in the eye can occur as a complication of a central retinal vein occlusion (when the main retinal vein is blocked).  This is caused by excessive eye pressure called neovascular glaucoma.

Treatment options for Retinal Vein Occlusion

Depending on the severity of retinal vein occlusion, your ophthalmologist will go through the different treatment options that are available.

  • Retinal laser therapy can be performed to shrink the abnormal blood vessel growth and prevent further bleeding or leaking
  • Anti-VEGF injections to the eye to reduce macula oedema by blocking the production of the VEGF protein by the retina, thereby stopping the cycle abnormal blood vessel growth and fluid leakage
  • Lifestyle and dietary modification
  • Antihypertensive medication


For Patients


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