Retinal Vascular Disease
Retinal vein occlusions are like small blood clots in the eye. When the retinal vein becomes blocked, the eye could hemorrhage (leak blood). There is no cure for retinal vascular disease, but there are things we can do to restore blood flow and prevent serious damage to your vision.
At Philadelphia Retina Associates, we see two types of vein occlusions: central vein occlusion, which affects the main retina vein, and branch vein occlusion, which affects the smaller veins that branch off the main vein. The main symptom of a vein occlusion is a sudden change in your vision. The reduction of blood flow causes swelling and pressure changes inside the eye, which can lead to a temporary loss of vision or very blurry vision.
The risk for retinal vein occlusions increases as you age, and the risk is significantly higher if you have other conditions that affect your circulation, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
If your ophthalmologist suspects you have a retinal vein occlusion, there are special imaging tests that can confirm the diagnosis. Ultrasound and fluorescein angiography are used to take pictures of the blood vessels in the eye and look for signs of restricted blood flow. The ophthalmologists at Philadelphia Retina Associates will also check for swelling using optical coherence tomography, or OCT, which measures the thickness of your retina.
Retinal Vein Occlusions Treatment in Philadelphia, PA
Although there is no way to actually remove the blockage, there are treatments that can help reduce the swelling and restore blood flow. Some of the most effective treatments for vein occlusions include intravitreal injections and laser therapy.
- Intravitreal injections contain special medication that can reduce inflammation in the eye. If the swelling goes down, blood flow is likely to improve.
- Laser therapy can be used to seal leaky blood vessels and stabilize pressure inside the eye.
It can take many months for the vein occlusion to completely go away – even after treatment – so prevention is always the best approach. You can prevent blood clots by managing your health to prevent diabetes-related and other vascular-related complications.
If you suspect a blood clot in your eye, call Philadelphia Retina Associates at (215) 335-3088 or request your appointment now. If you have a patient with a possible vein occlusion or retinal vascular disease, please call us or our secure patient referral form.