Retinal Vein Occlusion: What is It?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Retinal Vein Occlusion:What is It?

This is a color composite image of a patient with a branch retinal vein occlusion. A color composite is comprised of multiple images which the computer software "stitches" together to form a wide angle image. A vein occlusion typically occurs where an artery crosses a vein, called an arteriovenous crossing. If a patient has high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, pressure can be exerted on the vein, which has more malleable walls than an artery. Given enough pressure, the vein can be fully occluded.

An occlusion results in pressure build up the corresponding smaller venules, and they break and leak plasma and blood into the intraretinal tissue, which can result in blurred vision. A branch retinal vein occlusion is named such when a "branch" of the central retinal vein is occluded. The central retinal vein "branches" out when it reaches the optic nerve head, much like a trunk of a tree. If the occlusion happens within the optic nerve, the entire eye is affected, as the central retinal vein is supplied by the entire venous system of the eye. The actual compression is not treated, but the resulting edema, or swelling, from the occlusion can be treated with in office intravitreal injection.

If you or someone you know has questions about retinal vascular disease or an type of retina problem or disease, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.