A retinal vein occlusion occurs when a vein in the eye’s retina is blocked. The retina is the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your eye. It converts light rays into signals sent through the optic nerve to your brain, where they are recognized as images. A blocked vein damages the blood vessels of the retina. As a result, hemorrhages (bleeding) and leakage of fluid occur from the areas of blocked blood vessels.
Certain illnesses increase your risk for developing retinal vein occlusion, including:
If a branch retinal vein occlusion occurs in one eye, there is an increased chance (about 10 percent) that a branch or central vein occlusion will happen in the other eye.
If blood and fluid leak into the central part of the retina called the macula, swelling of the macula occurs (called macular edema). The macula is the part of your retina responsible for fine detail vision. It allows you to read the small print, thread a needle, and read street signs. Macular edema causes blurred vision, decreased vision, or both.
Retinal vein occlusion can cause abnormal vessels to grow on the retina. These new vessels are very fragile and may bleed or leak fluid into the vitreous — the gel-like substance that fills the center of the eye. As a result, small spots or clouds in your field of vision called floaters can appear. In more advanced cases of neovascularization, abnormal blood vessels may cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye.
There is no known cure for retinal vein occlusion. In some cases, eye drops, intraocular injections or laser surgery, may reduce macular edema and stabilize or improve vision. With this condition it is important to monitor your vision on a regular basis with an amsler grid such as the Eyecare Amsler Grid App.
Sometimes after cataract surgery the lens implant that was placed inside the eye can displace or become malpositioned. This can happen months or even years after the original cataract surgery. The lens implant works by focusing light onto the retina, so if the implant is no in position the vision will be blurred or distorted. Sometimes swelling in the retina, ocular inflammation or a bleed in the vitreous cavity can occur if the intraocular lens (IOL) is severely malpositioned. While this can sometimes be treated with eye drops it may be necessary to have a surgery to remove the old IOL and fixate a new one into the eye. The surgery is called a pars plana vitrectomy (include link) with IOL exchange and can often result in rapid normalization of vision. Our doctors utilize the newest techniques and the most advanced testing to restore your vision to as good as it was right after the cataract surgery!