Retinal Vein Occlusion Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Retinal Vein Occlusion Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Retinal vein occlusion is a condition where there is a blockage in the veins that drain blood from the retina back to the heart. The retina is one of the tissues in the eye that functions to convert light and images into nerve signals and send them to the brain via the optic nerve. Retinal vein occlusion is also known as a stroke in the eye.

A blockage due to a blood clot or fluid buildup in the retinal veins can hinder the retina’s ability to filter light. This also affects the ability to see. The degree of severity of visual impairment depends on the blocked vein.

In general, each eye has one central retinal vein and many smaller branch veins. Therefore, retinal vein occlusion also has two types, namely central retinal vein occlusion and branch retinal vein occlusion.

Retinal Vein Occlusion Symptom

The main sign and symptom of retinal vein occlusion is the occurrence of blurry vision or loss of vision which generally occurs suddenly and only in one eye. If you don’t get immediate treatment, blurry vision or loss of vision can worsen within a few hours to several days.

Sometimes, people who experience this condition can also see dark spots or floaters, which are visible appearances like fine threads floating in the eye. In severe cases, blockage in the vein can cause increased pressure and pain in the eye.

Retinal Vein Occlusion Reason

Retinal vein occlusion generally occurs due to increased hardness in the arteries and the presence of clots, which sometimes resemble blockages, which occur when someone has a stroke. Blockages are more common in those with narrowed or damaged blood vessels. Also in those who experience certain chronic diseases that can cause this to happen.

Some health conditions that can cause narrowing or damage to blood vessels are:

  • Atherosclerosis, which is a condition where there is plaque in the arteries
  • Glaucoma, which can cause damage to the optic nerve due to increased pressure in the eye
  • Macular edema, which is characterized by leakage of fluid into the macula, the area with the sharpest focus on the retina
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Blood disorders that affect blood clotting
  • Those over 60 years of age
  • Smoker


The diagnosis of retinal vein occlusion can be determined from a medical interview and a comprehensive eye physical examination, which includes an examination of vision and eye pressure, as well as evaluating the surface and blood vessels of the eye.

Investigations that are commonly performed to determine the diagnosis of retinal vein occlusion are:

  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT) or high-definition imaging of the retina.
  • Ophthalmoscopy, which is a method of evaluating the retina using an ophthalmoscope.
  • Fluorescein angiography, which is the step of injecting dye into the arm which will then flow into the retinal vein. Next, imaging will be done to see if there is a blockage.

In addition, the doctor may also recommend that the patient undergo a blood test to check for diabetes, high cholesterol levels, or blood clotting disorders.

Retinal Vein Occlusion Treatment

Treatment for retinal vein occlusion is aimed at overcoming problems caused by the blockage that occurs. Several types of treatment that can be done include:

  • Laser therapy, to reduce swelling due to fluid leakage that occurs.
  • Injection of anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation.
  • Vitrectomy is the removal of part or all of the spongy tissue at the back of the eye called the vitreous humor.
  • There are several clinical trials that show that certain combinations of medications are effective enough to restore vision in patients with macular swelling due to retinal vein occlusion.


Retinal vein occlusion generally affects the veins. Therefore, one way to reduce the risk of experiencing this condition is to protect blood vessels and keep blood vessel tissue healthy.

Some healthy lifestyle and dietary changes that can be implemented are:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Losing weight to normal levels when overweight
  • Maintain body weight to remain ideal
  • Avoid smoking
  • Controlling blood sugar levels to remain stable, especially those with diabetes
  • Keeping blood pressure stable, especially those with high blood pressure problems
  • Keeping cholesterol levels stable, especially those who have a history of high cholesterol levels
  • Regular eye health checks, to ensure early detection if certain eye diseases are present

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