The Dangers of Retinal Vein Occlusion

Retinal Vein Occlusion or RVO is one of the conditions that can cause significant damage to your eye, especially if it has additional complications. It is also known as an "eye stroke" and we will take a look at a few things you should know about it.

What is RVO?

Similar to a stroke, RVO appears when a vein, but in the eye, gets occluded and is unable to supply it with oxygen and nutrients. Without them, the affected area can suffer damage and function with less efficiency. Eventually the blockage wears out the vein, which at some point can lead to a leakage of blood or fluid, and lead to a vision loss.

Resulting from the leakage, there are a number of complications that can arise, which can significantly impair the vision of an individual. RVO can be either Central retinal vein occlusion or Branch retinal vein occlusion.

When it comes to Central retinal vein occlusion, the blockage appears in the main artery which brings blood into the eye, through the optic nerve. Branch retinal vein occlusion is a blockage that occurs in one of the veins, which are branching out of the main vein and  carry over blood to different parts of the anterior of the eye. This normally occurs in only one eye, but it can affect the other at some point as well.

Out of the Central RVO types, which are ischemic and nonischemic, the ischemic one is much more dangerous, as it can lead to increased pressure in the eye and eventually, if left untreated, it can even lead to the death of the optic nerve and ultimately losing sight in the affected eye.

What are the symptoms and complications of RVO?

RVO mainly causes loss of vision to a degree, which can widely vary depending on the type of RVO you are suffering from. Once it occurs, the changes can worsen over a few days or even several hours.

The loss of vision normally comes in the form of a spot in the vision field, but it can also be a blurry vision in general. If you notice that the change in your sight is worsening, regardless of the pace, you should book yourself an appointment with your eye specialist, as soon as possible.

What are the risk factors for it?

1. As with many other conditions, smoking is among the bigger risk factors, when it comes to the development of RVO.

2. People with other conditions like arteriosclerosis or diabetes, are at increased risk of developing this condition as well.

3. When it comes to Branched RVO, age can also be a risk factor, but it rarely plays a big role with individuals under the age of 50.

4. High blood pressure, bad diet and not enough physical activity. Unhealthy lifestyle in general.

How do you treat RVO?

There are various options available, depending on the type of RVO an individual has. There are injections which can be used in order to halt the development of edemas, which can be responsible for blurred vision. There are therapies that can prevent the formation of new blood vessels, among which is Laser therapy.

Patients who have been diagnosed with RVO, will often need to do regular check-ins with their eye specialists in order to make sure that there will be no complications arising. This will allow them to make a proper treatment plan according to the nature of the condition and decide if one is also necessary.

In the cases where permanent damage has been caused by the condition, another solution are vision aids, as they can help for performing daily tasks by enhancing your vision.

RVO can be very damaging, so if at some point you notice change in your vision, take early action. Major damage is preventable in the majority of cases and regular check ups will help you prevent or detect other conditions, which can be damaging to your sight!