Vein Occlusion Macular Oedema

The retina is the layer of tissue present at the back of the eye. It changes the light that enters the eye into nerve signals, which are transmitted to the brain for interpretation. Blood vessels supply oxygen and nutrients to the retina to keep it in working condition. As you age, atherosclerosis (hardening or thickening) and clot formation can occur in these vessels. These blocked arteries cross over retinal veins, exerting pressure on them and disrupting the flow of blood. A block in these veins that carry blood away from the retina can lead to a condition known as retinal vein occlusion (RVO).

The elderly are most often affected by retinal vein occlusion. The condition may be painless and often occurs in only one eye. Symptoms include sudden blurring or loss of vision, which worsens over time. Some patients may experience a complete loss of vision.

When left untreated, retinal vein occlusion can lead to further complications such as macular oedema. The macula is found at the back of the eye, on the centre of the retina, and consists of nerve cells called cones, which are responsible for the perception of light. Over the course of their illness, due to poor blood flow to the retina, patients with retinal vein occlusion develop abnormal blood vessels. These new blood vessels are fragile and tend to leak fluid into the macula. Accumulation of fluid in the macula causes the cones to lose their ability to perceive light, leading to vision problems including double vision, blurry vision, and eye floaters (moving spots in the field of vision).

Vein occlusion macular oedema can be treated with a procedure known as Intravitreal Injection.

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