Retinal Artery Occlusion

Retinal artery occlusion happens when one of the blood vessels leading to the retina is blocked. This can lead to vision loss as the blockage limits and even stops oxygen from reaching the retina’s cells.

What Is Retinal Artery Occlusion?

A retinal occlusion means that one of the blood vessels that supports your retina is blocked by a clot. In a healthy retina, nutrient-rich blood enters through the central retinal artery and drains the nutrient-poor blood back out through the central retinal vein. A blockage interrupts the regular delivery of nutrients and clearing of waste from the eye.

This is a serious condition characterized by sudden, severe vision loss that can be permanent. Changes in your vision, especially sudden ones, should not be ignored. Seek treatment at Vance Thompson Vision immediately.

A retinal artery occlusion (RAO) affects the blood vessels that carry blood to the retina. When an artery becomes blocked, the nutrients and oxygen that keep the retina healthy cannot be delivered. This deprivation can cause retinal cells to die. Blockages can be partial or complete and will determine the severity of vision loss.

There are two types of retinal artery occlusion: central and branch. These categories tell which type of artery is blocked. A central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) affects the main artery while a branch retinal artery occlusion affects one of the smaller, “feeder” arteries stemming from the central artery. A central artery occlusion is often caused by a clot that was swept into the retinal arteries and should be cause for a full physical to determine if there are other places in the body where clots are present.

Treatments for Retinal Artery Occlusion

Treatments for CRAO are often ineffective because the loss of blood supply causes irreversible damage to the retina within minutes. However, even though there’s no way to restore lost vision, the conditions that result from CRAO can often be treated to help prevent additional complications. Regular check-ups are important to identify resulting conditions in their earliest stages.

Even though a definitive treatment for retinal artery occlusion has not been discovered yet, breakthroughs are constantly emerging. Vance Thompson Vision is committed to research that furthers ophthalmology care for its patients.

Monitor Your Vision at Home

Patients with retinal artery occlusion can monitor their vision by downloading and printing their own Amsler chart. Post yours in an easy-to-see place such as your refrigerator for a daily check of your visual acuity. Step-by-step instructions are included with your download.


What to Expect

Vance Thompson Vision has a world-class retina care team that brings a wealth of experience to retinal care.

Retinal artery occlusion is considered an emergency, so please call our office immediately if you are experiencing sudden and severe vision loss. We’re here to help and will see you in our clinic as soon as possible.

Most appointments begin with extensive testing and measurements on your eyes. With the information provided by testing, the doctor will meet with you to discuss your diagnosis, which treatments are available, and to help you determine the best next steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between retinal artery occlusion and retinal vein occlusion?

Both conditions refer to a blockage in one of the blood vessels that keep your retina healthy. Artery occlusion affects the vessels that carry blood to the retina while vein occlusion affects the vessels that carry blood away from it.

What causes retinal occlusion?

Retinal occlusion is caused by a variety of factors including age, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and heart disease.

How is a central retinal artery occlusion treated?

Currently, there is no treatment for central retinal artery occlusion. However, the resulting complications can benefit from treatment at Vance Thompson Vision.

What are the symptoms of retinal artery occlusion?

Blurry or distorted vision in some or all of the visual field and even severe vision loss are symptoms of this condition. Changes in your vision should not be ignored. Contact Vance Thompson Vision as soon as possible.

Ready for help?

Early intervention truly is the best treatment. Call our friendly, professional team today to schedule your retina consultation.

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