RETINAL VEIN OCCLUSION

Retinal vein thrombosis

What is retinal vein occlusion?

It consists of an obstruction in the retinal vein, responsible for removing blood from the eye once the oxygen has been used by the cells. This causes significant abnormalities in the blood flow such the subsequent appearance of haemorrhages, exudates and oedema (build-up of fluid) at the back of the eye.

Symptoms of vein thrombosis

The central vein of the retina or one of its branches can be affected. Symptoms and complications will vary significantly, depending on the spread of the condition, but the main symptom is a reduction in visual acuity.

Risk factors

The most significant risk factors linked to retinal vein occlusions include:

Cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure.

Hypercoagulability or thrombophilia.

Systemic diseases causing vasculitis (vascular inflammation).

TREATMENT VEIN OCCLUSION

Prevention is always the best tool with these symptoms. A healthy lifestyle, good blood pressure management and quitting smoking are essential. Once thrombosis appears, our efforts need to be aimed at solving the cause and preventing or mitigating the related complications using intravitreal injections or laser photocoagulation.

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“The clinic is amazing. Nothing like other places I’ve been to. The personalised service and trust they convey is priceless. I’d particularly like to highlight the work of Dr Rahhal and Dr Alonso and their staff”.

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FAQs

Select one of the following frequently-asked questions from our patients to show the answer. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us using the form below.

Why does it happen?

This abnormality occurs because either the central vein of the retina or one of its branches is blocked, preventing blood from flowing through them normally. It is most common in people aged over 65, and is especially linked to cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure.

Should I be tested for something specific?

We always recommend that patients undergo thorough cardiovascular testing and in young patients we believe it is essential to test for potential thrombophilia that is affecting blood clotting because if we have a vein occlusion in the eye, it could happen in any other part of the body, so it is vital to test the underlying cause so as to act on that.

Can it happen again?

Yes. Vein occlusion can happen again in the same eye or in the other one. The likelihood of this happening will depend on the underlying cause, which is sometimes preventable.

Does it always lead to vision loss?

In most cases, it usually leads to an alteration in vision to a greater or lesser extent. If the occlusion happens in the central vein, the symptoms will be more marked and serious than if it happens in one of the branches as the extent of the affected retina will be different. The loss of visual acuity will also depend on whether or not there is any macular oedema, in which case a full eye examination is essential, including diagnostic testing such as OCT.

Initial consultation

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