A retinal artery occlusion occurs when the central retinal artery, or one of the branch retinal arteries, becomes blocked or closed. This condition usually results in a sudden, painless, severe loss of vision in the affected eye. If the central retinal artery is blocked, vision loss is usually complete. If one of the branch arteries is affected, vision loss is typically partial.
Diagnosis of a retinal artery occlusion is done after a dilated retinal exam is done. Patients will be asked to have a fluorescein angiogram done in our office to determine the extent of the damage done to retina from the occlusion. Typically, damage done to the retina by a retinal artery occlusion is permanent and no treatment is indicated. However, damage can be limited if the occlusion is found within a short period of time of its onset and aggressive treatment is administered.
The main cause of retinal artery occlusions is an embolism from the carotid artery or the heart. Several health conditions are associated with retinal artery occlusions; these include:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Heart Disease