Retinal Vascular Disease

Retinal vascular disorders refer to a range of eye diseases that affect the blood vessels in the eye. These conditions may be linked to existing systemic diseases, such as high blood pressure and artherosclerosis (thickening of the artery walls). Retina Consultants of Orange County offers state-of-the-art services in diagnosis and treatment for retinal vascular diseases.

Retinal Vascular Disease Q & A

What causes retinal vascular disease?

Retinal vascular disease typically occurs when the arteries delivering blood to the vessels that supply the retina with oxygen become hardened or swollen, slowing the flow of blood. This makes it difficult for the blood to leave the eye. When this condition affects the veins, it's known as retinal vein occlusion, or RVO.

What can retinal vein occlusion cause?

If left untreated, RVO can cause:
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Growth of abnormal blood vessels
  • Partial or total vision loss
Because of the severity of these risks, patients who suspect they may have RVO need to call Retina Consultants of Orange County right away.

What are the types of retinal vein occlusions?

There are 2 main types of retinal vein occlusions. The first is branch retinal vein occlusion, which occurs when the vein in the inner portion of the eye is blocked. The second is central retinal vein occlusion, which affects the central or main retinal vein at the back of the eye.

What other types of retinal vascular diseases exist?

If an occlusion affects an artery rather than a vein, it's known as a retinal artery occlusion. These typically occur after a blood clot or a piece of plaque blocks the artery. Symptoms and treatment are similar to RVO, which is more common.

What are the symptoms of retinal vascular disease?

Retinal vascular diseases can cause no symptoms, but if they become severe they can lead to sudden loss of vision. Routine eye exams will screen for this type of disease.

What puts a patient at risk of developing retinal vascular disease?

Some risk factors for retinal vascular disease include:
  • Glaucoma
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Inflammatory condition
Patients can limit their risk by improving their diet and weight, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. For more information about reducing the risk of retinal vascular disease, talk to the team at Retina Consultants of Orange County.

How is retinal vascular disease treated?

If it becomes severe or causes complications, retinal vascular disease may need to be treated. Some treatments include:
  • Focal laser treatment
  • Injections of anti-VEGF medications: ┬áIncluding Avastin, Lucentis, and Eylea
  • Injections of steroids
  • Laser treatment to stop the growth of blood vessels