Retinal vein occlusion is a condition in which a blood clot slows or stops circulation in a vein within the eye’s light-sensitive retinal tissue.
- If this condition occurs in a large vein, it is known as central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO)
- If it occurs in a smaller vein, the condition is known as branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO)
People over the age of 55 who have high blood pressure are at highest risk for this condition.
-National Eye Institute
In the United States, retinal vein occlusion is estimated to be the second most common condition affecting blood vessels in the retina. People who have diabetes mellitus are at risk for CRVO, the particular form of the condition that affects large retinal veins.
When a blood clot affects retinal blood flow, the retinal blood vessels may begin to leak fluid. This leakage can result in retinal swelling, which is known as macular edema when it affects the central portion of the retina. Macular edema is the most common cause of vision loss in people who have retinal vein occlusion.
Retinal vein occlusion is a sign of a general blood vessel (vascular) disease. The same measures used to prevent other blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease, may decrease the risk of retinal vein occlusion.
These measures include:
- Eating a low-fat diet
- Getting regular exercise
- Maintaining an ideal weight
- Not smoking
Aspirin or other blood thinners may help prevent blockages in the other eye.
Controlling diabetes is important in general, and it may also be helpful for preventing retinal vein occlusion.