Retinal vein occlusion
A retinal vein occlusion occurs when the small veins carrying blood away from the eye become blocked. Depending upon which vein is blocked, this can cause profound or partial loss of central vision due to bleeding and swelling of the retina. In certain cases, abnormal blood vessels may form in the area of the blocked vein, leading to bleeding into the eye and sudden visual loss.
The most common risk factors for retinal vein occlusion include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking.
Injections of anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) medication into the eye can be used to reduce the swelling of the retina, often stabilising or improving vision.
Retinal laser can be used to reduce retinal swelling and to reduce the growth of abnormal blood vessels on the surface of the retina.
I have commenced intravitreal eye injections for my vein occlusion. How long will I have to have these for?
Intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF are used to treat retinal swelling (macular oedema) caused by retinal vein occlusions. These injections are usually repeated monthly for at least 3 months. The frequency of injections is often variable between different people and depends on the response to treatment and if there is any recurrence of retinal fluid.
My vision improved after having intravitreal injections, do I still need to have my eyes monitored?
There can be a recurrence of retinal swelling after intravitreal injections are stopped. This can affect vision and may need re-treatment. Additionally, in severe retinal vein occlusions, there may be growth of new vessels on the surface of the retina and in the drainage angle of the eye after intravitreal injections are ceased. This can cause an increase in eye pressure (glaucoma) and irreversible visual loss if not detected.
Why do I need to see my GP about my retinal vein occlusion?
The most common risk factors for retinal vein occlusions include hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking. After being diagnosed with a retinal vein occlusion, it is important to see your GP to ensure these are optimally managed to decrease the risk of developing another vein occlusion, either in the same eye or the other eye.