A retinal vein occlusion (RVO) occurs when one of the veins that drains blood from the retina in the back of your eye becomes blocked. A blocked retinal vein damages the retinal blood vessels and can lead to hemorrhage (bleeding), impaired blood flow, and leakage of fluid and blood components (hard exudates) into the retina. RVO can cause visual impairment in four ways:
- Blood and hard exudates can directly interfere with retinal function.
- Abnormal fluid can accumulate in the retina, leading to thickening and the presence of cyst-like fluid collections that distort normal retinal architecture. This is called cystoid macular edema (CME).
- Inadequate blood flow to the retina, which is called ischemia
- Abnormal blood vessels can grow from the surface of the retina. This is called neovascularization. These fragile blood vessels can bleed and form damaging scar tissue. Sometimes, these abnormal blood vessels can grow on the iris and drainage canals in the eye, leading to increased eye pressure (neovascular glaucoma).
Our board-certified ophthalmologists at Retina Consultants of Houston are experienced and trained in the diagnosis and treatment of retinal vein occlusions.
There are two different types of retinal vein occlusion (RVO):
- Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO): Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) occurs when the main vein that drains the retina becomes blocked.
- Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion (BRVO): Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) occurs when one of the smaller retinal veins becomes blocked.
Causes and Symptoms
Diabetes, high blood pressure, poorly controlled cholesterol and smoking can all increase a patient’s risk of RVO. Many other conditions can cause RVO, including glaucoma, inflammation and blood clotting disorders (hypercoaguable states). Depending on your clinical situation, you may need to be evaluated for these less common conditions.
The most common symptoms of RVO include:
- Blurred and distorted central vision
- Dim vision
- Decreased sensitivity to light
Sometimes, however, patients with CRVO or BRVO experience no symptoms.
"Mine was, more or less, an urgent situation, so I was very lucky to be able to see her. She had a staff who did the photos/preliminary exams and they were excellent. When I saw her, she had all the results. The news was good and she gave me all the info I needed. To me, time spent was not relevant, as she gave me all the time I needed to ask questions. Since the news was good, I had very few questions."- F.A. / Healthgrades / Oct 06, 2018
"Five Stars - My husband and I have been Dr Kim’s patient for over 17 years. She is a compassionate, knowledgeable, detailed oriented doctor with excellent bedside manner. She had saved my husband’s vision from macular degeneration. We all love her and will be her faithful patients forever."- Anonymous / Vitals / Jul 19, 2018
"For the last three years I've been treated by the Retina Consultants of Houston at the Sugar Land location and have been extremely satisfied with the very professional, courteous staff and Dr. Chen. When at the office in the waiting rooms I've spoken with numerous other patients who have all had the same comments of satisfaction. My observations have always been that the staff and doctors work hard to keep patients waiting time at a minimum, while maintaining the excellent quality of care. I would not go any where else."- S.R. / Google / Jun 22, 2018
"Dr. Brown is an excellent surgeon. If you want the best, you have to make a sacrifice. I have been a patient of Dr. Brown, for decades, and I would recommend him to anyone. I would be completely blind if not for Dr. Brown, and God, the Most Holy of Holy."- M.S. / Healthgrades / May 16, 2018
"My left retina had tear in it and I had no clue of what was happening, but was referred to the Retina Consultants of Houston and was blessed with meeting Dr. Wykoff. He repaired my eye while explaining everything in detail and helping me to feel comfortable. Less than a year later my right eye did the same thing but a little worse. Nowadays, I will only let Dr. Wykoff work on me. I am seeing great today and at 58 have zero floaters, etc. This Doctor is the best."- C.P. / Google / Mar 16, 2018
Treatment and Prognosis
Depending on the cause and severity of a BRVO or CRVO, treatment may include one or more the following:
- Close clinical observation
- Intravitreal injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) medications (Lucentis, Avastin, Eylea) or steroids
- Laser therapy
- Vitrectomy surgery
In addition to treatment of your eye, if you have CRVO or BRVO, it is very important that you work with your primary care physician to optimally control your cardiovascular risk factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and diabetes.
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Treat RVO Today
The board-certified retinal specialists at Retinal Consultants of Houston work with each patient to diagnose and treat retinal vein occlusion. If found early, RVO can be treated so that further blockage of the veins to the retina do not progress and cause further damage. Our Houston, TX retina practice offers numerous locations, each equipped to accurately and effectively diagnose, treat, and help manage RVO. Please call one of our area centers to schedule your appointment.