Retinal Artery Occlusions

Retinal artery occlusion is a blockage in one of the small arteries that carry blood to the retina.

What are the symptoms of a retinal artery occlusion?
Sudden vision loss is usually a symptom of central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO).  A partial blurring or loss of vision usually indicates a branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO).

What are the causes of a retinal artery occlusion?
High blood pressure and aging are the main risk factors for CRAO. Glaucoma, diabetes, and conditions in which the blood is thicker and stickier than usual also appear to raise your risk. In women, the condition has been linked to the use of oral contraceptives.

What are the treatments for retinal artery occlusions?
No ocular therapy has been proven to help. However, some ophthalmologists may try ocular massage or a fluid tap from the eye (anterior chamber paracentesis) in the case of an acute or sudden arterial occlusion.

Loss of visual acuity with a BRAO will depend mostly on whether arterial blood flow has been disrupted and/or if swelling is present in the macula, where fine focusing occurs.