Retinal Vein Occlusion

What is Retinal Vein Occlusion?

  • Retinal arteries carry blood to the eye and retinal veins drain blood from the eye.
  • A retinal vein occlusion is a condition when the draining retinal vein in the eye becomes blocked, resulting in bleeding and leakage into the surrounding retina. Without blood circulation, the retina is damaged and there is loss of vision.
  • Blockages can occur in the main vein (“central retinal vein occlusion”) or one of the smaller branches (“branch retinal vein occlusion”).
  • Symptoms of retinal vein occlusion include vision loss or blurriness that can affect parts of the vision or the entire vision of one eye.
  • In severe cases, the eye can grow aggressive new and abnormal blood vessels in response to the loss of blood supply. These blood vessels can leak, bleed and even clog up the drainage of the eye resulting in glaucoma.
  • Depending on the severity, treatment of retinal vein occlusion may involve intravitreal injection therapy, LASER therapy or vitrectomy surgery.


  • Intravitreal injection therapy involves numbing the eye with anaesthetic drops, followed by antiseptic drops to sterilise the surface of the eye. The medication is then delivered into the eye using a very fine needle.
  • LASER is the use of a very focused beam of light to heat retinal tissue. This procedure is done in the clinic with topical anaesthesia. The patient will experience the sensation of a very bright light and occasionally a slight ache during the treatment.
  • Vitrectomy is an operation that involves the usage of micro-instruments through the white part of the eye (sclera) to remove the vitreous gel. In the context of vein occlusions, vitreous haemorrhage is usually removed and LASER therapy performed.

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