Retinal Vein Occlusion

A retinal vein occlusion, also called an RVO or an eye stroke, is a medical event that can affect eye health and vision. If you have a retinal vein occlusion, it is important to see a specialist for treatment in order to prevent permanent vision loss. The eye doctors at Retina Vitreous Associates are board-certified retina specialists with fellowship-training and extensive experience in treating retinal vein occlusion and other conditions that affect the retina.

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What is a Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO)?

The retina, which is located in the back of the eye, plays a key role in vision by converting light into images. The retina is made of photosensitive tissue that is connected to blood vessels. The retina is supplied by a network of arteries, which nourish and provide oxygen, and veins, which move blood back to the heart. A retinal vein occlusion occurs when one of the blood vessels becomes blocked, which prevents blood from draining from the retina.

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Types of Retinal Vein Occlusions

There are two types of retinal vein occlusions:

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Symptoms of Retinal Vein Occlusion

Retinal vein occlusion can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms will vary depending on the type and severity of occlusion. Initial symptoms are often some degree of vision loss or distortion. Symptoms are usually painless and often start with slightly blurred vision that gradually worsens, although some types of RVO may cause a more sudden or complete loss of vision. It is important to see an eye doctor any time you experience any type of change in vision.

How is Retinal Vein Occlusion Diagnosed?

We have several diagnostic tools to detect a retinal vein occlusion, all of which are typically painless and non-invasive. Fluorescein angiography is a specialized photographic test that uses dye to visualize the blood flow in the retinal veins. Optical coherence tomography, or OCT, uses a scanning ophthalmoscope to take a high definition photo of the retina.

Risk Factors for Retinal Vein Occlusion

Retinal vein occlusion can happen to anyone, but certain groups of people and those with medical conditions may be more likely to experience RVO. Risk factors include:1

Prognosis and Treatment for Retinal Vein Occlusion

There is no procedure to unblock a retinal vein, but there are treatments available to address symptoms and associated health problems. Among patients with BRVO, approximately one third will experience a quick improvement in symptoms, one third will have gradual improvement over a year or more, and one third will stay about the same.2

Treatment for retinal vein occlusion include:

Contact Retina Vitreous Associates

At Retina Vitreous Associates, your eye health is our top priority. Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our retina experts.


1 Stem MS, Talwar N, Comer GM, Stein JD. A longitudinal analysis of risk factors associated with central retinal vein occlusion. Ophthalmology. 2013;120(2):362-370. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.07.080
2 Cleveland Clinic. Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO): Management and Treatment. Available: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14206-retinal-vein-occlusion-rvo/management-and-treatment. Accessed August 13, 2020.

The doctors at Retina Vitreous Associates have either authored or reviewed the content on this site.

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