amplifyeyecare-logo-base2-icon

Retinal Vein Occlusion (Eye Stroke): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) or an eye stroke, is a condition that occurs where a vein that carries blood away from the retina becomes blocked, leading to reduced blood flow and damage to the affected area.

Find an amplify doctor near you
Retinal Vein Occlusion (Eye Stroke): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options Optometrist

Retinal Vein Occlusion (Eye Stroke): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options Videos

RVO or eye stroke is a relatively common condition that can cause sudden vision changes, such as blurred or distorted vision, or a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes. There are two types of RVO, including branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) and central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO), depending on which vein is affected. RVO is most commonly seen in individuals over the age of 50 and is associated with various risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking. Early detection and treatment of RVO is essential to maintain eye health, prevent further retinal disorders, and preserve vision. Treatment options may include medications, laser therapy, or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition. Regular eye exams and management of underlying health conditions can help reduce the risk of RVO and other eye-related complications.

Amplify EyeCare

Symptoms and Warning Signs of Retinal Vein Occlusion or Eye Stroke : Why Seeing Our Eye Doctor Is Critical

Here are the symptoms to look out for:

Sudden vision loss

If you experience sudden vision loss in one eye, it could be a sign of RVO. You may notice a sudden, painless loss of vision, which can range from mild to severe. In some cases, you may only notice a partial loss of vision or a blind spot in your visual field. If you experience sudden vision loss call your eye doctor or visit an ER. 

Blurred or distorted vision

RVO or eye stroke can also cause blurry or distorted vision, making it difficult to see fine details or read small print. You may notice that objects appear distorted or wavy, or that your vision is hazy or cloudy.

Reduced color vision

Some people with RVO may also experience a reduction in their ability to see colors. You may notice that colors appear less vibrant or that you have difficulty distinguishing between certain shades.

Eye pain or discomfort

In some cases, RVO can cause eye pain or discomfort, particularly if it's accompanied by inflammation or swelling in the affected area. You may also experience a sensation of pressure or fullness in your eye.

Floaters

RVO can sometimes cause floaters, which are small, dark specks or shapes that appear to float across your field of vision. Floaters are usually harmless, but they can be a sign of a more serious condition, so it's important to get them checked out by your optometrist.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for preserving your vision and preventing further damage to your eye.

Understanding the Root Causes of Retinal Vein Occlusion or Eye Stroke

Understanding the Root Causes of Retinal Vein Occlusion or Eye Stroke

While anyone can develop RVO, certain factors can increase your risk of developing the condition. Here are some of the causes to look out for:

Age-related risks

RVO is more common in older adults, particularly those over the age of 60. As you age, the blood vessels in your eyes can become weaker and more susceptible to damage and blockages.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can damage the blood vessels in your eyes and increase your risk of developing RVO. If you have high blood pressure, it's important to manage it through lifestyle changes and medication as prescribed by your doctor.

Diabetes

Diabetes can also damage the blood vessels in your eyes and increase your risk of developing RVO. If you have diabetes, it's important to manage your blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and medication as prescribed by your doctor.

High cholesterol

High levels of cholesterol in your blood can lead to the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels, increasing your risk of developing RVO. If you have high cholesterol, it's important to manage it through lifestyle changes and medication as prescribed by your doctor.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve and increase your risk of developing RVO. If you have glaucoma, it's important to manage it through regular eye exams and medication as prescribed by your doctor.

Blood disorders

Certain blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease, can heighten your risk of developing RVO. If you have a blood disorder, it's crucial to collaborate with your healthcare provider to manage your condition and mitigate the risk of RVO development.

Other lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of developing RVO include smoking, a history of blood clots, and certain medications. It's important to talk to your optometrist about your medical history and any medications you're taking to determine your risk of developing RVO.

Understanding the Root Causes of Retinal Vein Occlusion or Eye Stroke

Understanding the Root Causes of Retinal Vein Occlusion or Eye Stroke

Here are some of the risk factors to be aware of:

Smoking

Smoking can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of developing RVO. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your eye health and overall health.

A history of blood clots

If you have a history of blood clots, you may be at increased risk of developing RVO. It's important to discuss your medical history with your optometrist to determine your risk of developing this condition.

Certain medications

Some medications, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, can increase your risk of developing blood clots, which can in turn increase your risk of developing RVO. It's important to talk to your optometrist about any medications you're taking and their potential risks.

Family history

If you have a family history of RVO or other eye conditions, you may be at increased risk of developing this condition. It's important to discuss your family history with your optometrist and undergo regular eye exams to monitor your eye health.

Find an amplify doctor near you
How Our Optometrists Diagnose Retinal Vein Occlusion

How Our Optometrists Diagnose Retinal Vein Occlusion

If you are experiencing vision changes or have any of the risk factors associated with RVO, we may perform certain tests to diagnose the condition. Here are some of the diagnostic tests that may be performed:

Dilated eye exam

We will perform a dilated eye exam to examine the back of your eye and check for any signs of RVO, such as bleeding or swelling in the retina.

Fluorescein angiography

This test involves injecting a dye into your arm and taking photographs of your eye to check for any abnormalities in the blood vessels of the retina.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT): This non-invasive test uses light waves to create a detailed image of your retina, allowing us to check for any abnormalities or damage.

Visual field testing

This test measures your peripheral vision and can help your optometrist determine the extent of your vision loss due to RVO.

Blood tests

Your optometrist may perform blood tests to check for any underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, that may be contributing to your RVO.

From Medications to Surgery: A Comprehensive RVO Treatment Guide

The treatment options for RVO depend on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. Here are some of the treatment options that may be recommended:

Medications

Certain medications may be prescribed to treat RVO, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners, or medications to control high blood pressure or cholesterol levels. These medications may help to reduce swelling and improve blood flow to the retina.

Anti-VEGF injections

These injections are used to block the effects of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which can contribute to the development of RVO. Anti-VEGF injections may be administered directly into the eye and can help to reduce swelling and improve vision.

Laser treatment

Laser treatment may be used to seal leaking blood vessels in the retina or to create new blood vessels that can bypass the blocked vein. This treatment can help to improve vision and prevent further damage to the retina.

Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove blood clots or scar tissue from the retina. Surgery may also be used to create a bypass for the blocked vein or to remove the vitreous gel from the eye to improve blood flow.

In addition to these treatments, there are also several lifestyle changes that you can make for effective eye health management and to help manage your RVO:

Maintain a healthy diet

Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to improve your overall health and reduce your risk of developing further complications from RVO.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise can help to improve blood flow and reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, which can contribute to RVO.

Manage underlying medical conditions

If you have underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, it's important to manage these conditions with medication and lifestyle changes.

Quit smoking

Smoking can contribute to the development of RVO and can make it harder for your body to heal. Quitting smoking can help to reduce your risk of developing further complications.

It's important to remember that early detection and treatment are key to preserving your vision and preventing further damage to your eyes. If you are experiencing any vision changes or have any of the risk factors associated with RVO or eye stroke, it's important to schedule an appointment with your optometrist for an evaluation.

Understanding the Root Causes of Retinal Vein Occlusion or Eye Stroke
Eye Emergencies optometry and eye care
Amplify EyeCare and Optometrists

Want Perfect Vision? Connect With a Top-Notch Amplify EyeCare Optometrist Today

Amplify EyeCare is a team of a passionate and experienced optometrists practicing eye care at the cutting edge of technology and vision science. We are growing with new locations coming across the US.
Visit a Eye Emergencies eye center at an Amplify EyeCare practice near you:

Common Questions

Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) or eye stroke can be a significant condition that may lead to vision loss if left untreated. It occurs when veins responsible for carrying blood away from the retina become obstructed, causing a backup of blood and fluid. This can result in damage and swelling of the retina, ultimately causing vision loss. The severity of RVO can vary, depending on the blockage extent, the affected retina area, and the promptness of diagnosis and treatment.
While retinal vein occlusion cannot be cured, treatment can help manage the condition and prevent further vision loss. The primary goal of treatment is to enhance blood flow and minimize fluid buildup in the retina. With proper management, vision loss can be reduced and sometimes even restored.
Symptoms of retinal vein occlusion can include sudden painless vision loss, blurry or distorted vision, a decrease in peripheral vision, and the appearance of floaters or flashes of light in the visual field. If you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to schedule an appointment with our eye doctor for an evaluation.
A retinal vein occlusion is not a stroke, but it is often considered a vascular event. Both conditions involve a blockage of blood flow, but a stroke impacts the brain, whereas RVO affects the retina.
With appropriate management, retinal vein occlusion can improve over time. Treatment can help reduce swelling and enhance blood flow, which can, in turn, improve vision. However, it's important to note that not all cases of RVO will fully resolve, and some degree of vision loss may be permanent. While the thought of permanent vision loss is terrifying, there are incredible Low vision devices that can provide assistance with difficult visual skills such as reading and driving.
Treatment for vein occlusion can include medications to reduce swelling, laser therapy to decrease blood vessel leakage, and in some cases, surgery to enhance blood flow. The specific treatment plan will depend on the severity and location of the occlusion.
Some studies suggest that specific vitamins and supplements may be helpful in managing retinal vein occlusion, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. However, it's essential to discuss any supplement regimen with our eye doctor before starting, as some supplements can interact with other medications or have negative effects on particular medical conditions.
Amplify EyeCare cartoon

Don't Wait! Schedule an Appointment to Evaluate Possible Retinal Vein Occlusion Today

If you are experiencing sudden vision changes, it's important to schedule an appointment with your optometrist for an evaluation. Early detection and treatment of Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) can help to preserve your vision and prevent further damage to your eyes. If you have any of the risk factors associated with RVO, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, it's important to take steps to manage these conditions through lifestyle changes and medication. By making healthy choices and seeking timely medical attention, you can take control of your eye health and protect your vision for years to come. To schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help you manage your RVO through our comprehensive eye care services, you can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

starchevron-downarrow-uparrow-right