Learn about RVO

Click on the links below to learn more about retinal vein occlusion (RVO)

What is retinal vein occlusion (RVO)?

Arteries and veins bring blood to and from the eye. If the veins in the eye become blocked by a blood clot, this is called retinal vein occlusion, or RVO.

RVO may damage the retina (reh‐TIN‐uh, the light-sensitive layer in the back of the eye), causing problems with vision.

There are 2 types of RVO:

  • Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) is when the main retinal vein becomes blocked
  • Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) is when one or more branches of the main retinal vein become blocked

What are the symptoms of RVO?

Symptoms of RVO can be hard or easy to notice and may happen suddenly. They include:

  • Sudden loss or blurring of vision (over several hours or days)
  • Sudden loss of all vision
  • Dark spots or little squiggles in vision (floaters)

RVO almost always happens only in one eye.

>> Watch the video below to see how RVO changes vision over time.

This video is meant to show you a range of symptoms you may experience. Symptoms can vary depending on the severity level of the disease and will be unique for each person. If you experience any problems with vision, contact your Retina Specialist right away.

How does RVO affect the eyes?

In RVO, blood and fluid cannot drain properly from the eye because veins are blocked, leading to problems with vision.

  • This leads to swelling of the macula, or  macular edema, and can cause problems with vision

Blockages in eye vessels can lead to bleeding and fluid leaks, which can injure the macula or retina and lead to vision problems and poor blood circulation.

  • Without proper blood circulation in the eye, sight‐enabling eye cells cannot get enough oxygen and nutrients. This may injure them permanently, causing problems with vision

What are risk factors for retinal vein occlusion (RVO)?

Risk factors for RVO include:

  • Conditions that cause clots
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Diabetes (high blood sugar)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Other eye conditions such as glaucoma (high pressure in the eye), macular edema (swelling in the eye), or bleeding

The risk of all these factors increases with age, so RVO usually affects older people.

What can happen if RVO is left untreated?

If left untreated, RVO can cause problems with vision.

If you think you are experiencing problems with vision from RVO, make an appointment with a Retina Specialist right away.

If you do not have a Retina Specialist, ask your primary care physician or ophthalmologist about a referral

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