When retinal blood vessels are not working properly, the retina may grow abnormal blood vessels (neovascularization) that are fragile. They can bleed or leak fluid into the vitreous (the gel-like fluid that fills the center of the eye), causing the floaters.
Pain in the eye sometimes occurs as a complication of severe CRVO. It is caused by excessive eye pressure called neovascular glaucoma.
After your initial examination, you may be referred to a retina specialist for further evaluation and a test of the retinal circulation called fluorescein angiography. A dye (flourescein) is injected into your arm and then special photos are taken of the inside of your eye when the dye passes through the blood vessels. Your ophthalmologist may also suggest a visit to your family physician to discover and manage any associated medical problems.
A non-invasive test called optical coherence tomography (OCT) is available at Retina Care Specialists which may help us to better evaluate how much swelling there is as a result of the branch vein occlusion.
There is no cure for retinal vein occlusion. Your ophthalmologist may recommend a period of observation, since hemorrhages and excess fluid may subside on their own.
Laser surgery improves sight in some patients with BRVO and macular edema, but vision does not usually return to normal. Laser surgery is not as helpful in CRVO, but new types of treatment are being evaluated.
Laser surgery is very effective in preventing vitreous hemorrhage and neovavascular glaucoma. However, it does not remove hemorrhage or cure neovascular glaucoma once they are already present. It is best to treat people at risk for these complications before they occur.
A new medicine, Ozurdex has recently been FDA approved for the treatment of Central Retinal Vein Oclusion, CRVO. This is the first approved treatment for CRVO, the third leading cause of retinal vision loss in people over the age of 60. Ask your doctor if you are a candidate for this new treatment.