Retinal Vein Occlusions


Your retina has veins and other blood vessels that carry blood. When a vein in your retina is blocked (occluded), it is called a retinal vein occlusion. This can be caused by a blood clot or when a larger vessel compresses the run due to “hardening of the arteries” or atherosclerosis.  

With retinal vein occlusion, weaker blood vessels may end up carrying more blood. They might start to leak, which causes the macula to swell or thicken. This is called macular edema, and it leads to blurry vision or vision loss.

There are two types of retinal vein occlusion:

  1.  Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO). This is when your eye’s main vein is blocked, causing hemorrhages (bleeding) in the retina.
  2.  Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion (BRVO) – This is when small blood vessels attached to the eye’s main vein are blocked, causing bleeding in parts of the retina.


Call your ophthalmologist right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • ‍Blurry or less vision
  •  Noticing many floaters in your field of vision
  •  Pain inside your eye


It is not known exactly what causes retinal vein occlusion. However, you are more likely to have retinal vein occlusion if you have:

  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma (increased pressure inside the eye)
  • High blood pressure
  • Diseases related to blood vessels (vascular disease)


Treatments may include:

  • Medicine – A drug is given by injections (shots) inside the eye. It helps to reduce swelling of the macula. This helps to slow vision loss and perhaps improve vision.
  • Laser surgery – Your ophthalmologist may use a laser to shrink certain blood vessels in your retina. This is so that they won’t bleed, and to prevent them from growing back. Laser surgery may help slow vision loss and perhaps improve vision.
  • Managing your health – Diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure or other health problems can lead to retinal vein occlusion. Taking care of your health can keep you from getting this serious eye problem. Your doctor may talk with you about the best ways to manage your health.
American Academy of Ophthalmology