Retinal Vein Occlusion

A blocked vein can cause leakage of blood into the retina and vision loss. This is known as a branch vein occlusion and can be treated with medication or a laser.

There are veins in the retina that carry “used” blood out of the eye, back to the heart. If those veins become blocked, pressure in the veins builds and blood leaks from the veins, causing fluid in the retina and loss of vision. High blood pressure is often the cause of hardening of the arteries that leads to an obstruction of the vein.

If you experience sudden loss of your central (reading or straight-ahead) vision, or a blurry or missing area of vision, call your family doctor of optometry at once.

Symptoms of retinal vein occlusion

  • Sudden, painless loss of vision
  • Sudden increase in floating spots or cobwebs
  • Blurred or missing area of vision

Causes of retinal vein occlusion

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Glaucoma, diabetes and other conditions

Treatment for retinal vein occlusion

The type of treatment depends on the cause of the blockage and the extent of damage. A laser can be used to reduce leakage and the growth of abnormal new blood vessels.