About Central & Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion

About Central Retinal Vein Occlusion & Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion at Center for Sight serving Fall River, Massachusetts and greater Providence, Rhode Island

By Robert Kelly, M.D.

A Retinal Vein Occlusion can occur in the Central Retinal Vein or in a Branch Retinal Vein.  Retinal Vein Occlusion occurs when the circulation of a retinal vein becomes blocked by an adjacent artery.  This blockage causes elevated venous pressure which damages the vein, leading to hemorrhages, swelling and ischemia (a lack of oxygen) in the Retina. Retinal Vein Occlusion occurs equally in women and men and mostly after the age of 60, and especially on those patients with diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease.

The visual symptoms of Retinal Vein Occlusion can vary greatly in severity from one person to the next.  The symptoms are also quite dependent on whether it is a Central Retinal Vein or Branch Retinal Vein that has become occluded.  Typically, patients experience a sudden onset of blurred or a “missing area of vision” if a branch retinal vein is occluded or a severe loss of central vision if the central retinal vein has become occluded.  Some patients who have Retinal Vein Occlusion will also experience a type of Glaucoma as a secondary complication. 

Patients who experience a Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion often notice a gradual improvement in their vision as the hemorrhage resolves.  Unfortunately, visual recovery from a Central Retinal Vein Occlusion is much less likely since it is more likely to cause ischemia.

Diagnosis of Retinal Vein Occlusion
To diagnose a Retinal Vein Occlusion your pupil will be dilated so that Center for Sight Retinal Specialist Robert Kelly, M.D. can directly observe the Retina using instruments including the Ophthalmoscope and Slit Lamp with a high magnification “fundus lens” so that fine detail can be examined.  It is usually necessary to have an Intravenous Fluorescein Angiogram (IVF) to study the blood circulation in the Retina, as well as an Ocular Coherence Tomogram (OCT) to detect the presence and severity of Macular Edema, or swelling.

Treatment of Retinal Vein Occlusion
The main objectives of treating Retinal Vein Occlusion are to avoid and treat secondary complications.  If there are areas of the Retina that have been deprived of oxygen, “chemical signals” are released that can stimulate the formation of “new blood vessels” or “neovascularization.”  These new blood vessels are not “normal” in that they are extremely fragile and easily broken, resulting in hemorrhage and scarring of the Retina with resulting vision loss.  The new blood vessels may also cause a type of secondary Glaucoma, called Neovascular Glaucoma.  If you develop neovascularization, it will be necessary to use Laser Photocoagulation Treatment and Vascular Endothelial Growth (VEGF) Inhibitor Injections such as Lucentis® Injections, Eyelea® Injections or Avastin® Injections to stop the growth of these delicate blood vessels.

If you need to be evaluated for your risk of Retinal Vascular Disease such as Retinal Vein Occlusion, please call us to schedule an appointment in Fall River, Massachusetts at

Center for Sight is conveniently located for patients in need of evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of Central Retinal Vein Occlusion & Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion in Massachusetts or Rhode Island from Attleboro, Fairhaven, Fall River, Franklin, Mansfield, Marion, Mattapoisett, Medfield, Milford, New Bedford, North Attleboro, North Dartmouth, Norton, Oxford, Rehoboth, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Walpole, Whitinsville, Woonsocket, Providence, Smithfield, Westport, Lakeville, Dighton, Little Compton, and Tiverton.