A retinal artery occlusion occurs when the main artery servicing the eye or one of the arteries that branch off of it becomes occlulded. This blockage is typically caused by tiny blood clots, fibrin plugs, or calcific emboli. This blockage cause the eye to lose its oxygen supply, causing permanent damage to the retinal tissue with loss of vision.
Signs and symptoms
transient loss of vision prior to the artery occlusion in some cases
Branch Artery Occlusion
sudden & painless partial loss of vision in one eye
Central Artery Occlusion
sudden & painless total loss of vision in one eye
diagnosis is usually made during a complete retinal exam and is made with an ophthalmoscope and a fluorescein angiogram
Unfortunately, there are no treatment options that can restore vision which may be lost from an artery occlusion. Infrequently laser treatment may be necessary for delayed complications such as new blood vessel formation (neovascularization). Risk factors for an artery occlusion are diabetes, valvular heart disease, glaucoma, hypertension and high cholesterol levels.