What is retinal vein occlusion?

Fact Checked

Retinal vein occlusion or “eye stroke” involves blockage in one of the veins that returns blood from the retina back to the heart. If there is an obstruction due to a blood clot or buildup of fluid in the retinal veins, the ability of the retina to filter light and capability to see is impaired. Take note that the severity of the vision loss depends on the vein that is obstructed.

Types of retinal vein occlusion

There are 2 types of retinal veins – one central vein and several smaller branch veins. Understandably, there are 2 types of occlusion.

  • Central vein occlusion
  • Branch retinal vein occlusion

What are the indications?

The main symptom of retinal vein occlusion is blurred or loss of vision that is usually abrupt in onset and generally affects only one eye.

If the condition is not treated, the blurriness or loss of vision becomes worse in hours or days. Oftentimes, there are dark sports or floaters that are small-sized lumps of cells or material that floats in the eye.

Retinal vein occlusion
If the condition is not treated, the blurriness or loss of vision becomes worse in hours or days.

In severe cases, the obstructed vein builds up pressure and trigger eye pain. It is vital to consult a doctor right away if these symptoms are present since it can lead to other health issues.

Possible causes of retinal vein occlusion

Retinal vein occlusion typically occurs since the arteries harden and lead to a clot which is similar to a stroke. The obstruction is quite common among those who have narrowed or damaged blood vessels or those who have chronic conditions and factors such as the following:

  • Glaucoma which involves damage to the optic nerve due to increased pressure
  • Atherosclerosis involves hardening of the arteries
  • High blood pressure
  • Macular edema
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Individuals who smoke
  • Blood conditions that affect the clotting process
  • Individuals over the age of 60


Obstructions in the retinal veins could not be removed. The treatment is aimed on dealing with the issues that arises from the occlusion such as the following:

  • Laser therapy to minimize the edema or swelling due to fluid leakage
  • Injections of corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation
  • Vitrectomy or removal of all or part of the vitreous humor in the eye

Was this post helpful?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top

  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional