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Vascular Occlusive Retinal Disorders

These disorders can involve either the venous or arterial vessels of the eye. Retinal vein occlusion is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. The retina is the layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye that converts light images to nerves signals and sends them to the brain. Retinal vain occlusion is most often caused by hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and the formation of a blood clot. Blockage of smaller veins (branch veins of BRVO) in the retina often occurs when retinal arteries that have been thickened and hardened by atherosclerosis cross over and place pressure on a retinal vein. Risk factors for BRVO include atherosclerosis, diabetes hypertension, and eye conditions such as glaucoma. Treatment includes focal laser treatment and injections of anti-VEGF agents.

Retinal Artery Occlusion (BRAO) is a blockage in one of the small arteries that carry blood to the retina. The retina is a layer of tissue in the back of the eye that is able to sense light. Retinal arteries may become blocked by a blood clot or fat deposits that get stuck. These blockages are more likely is there is hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) in the eye. Clots may travel from other parts of the body and block an artery in the retina. The most common source of clots is the carotid artery in the neck and heart. Risk factors for BRAO include carotid artery disease, diabetes, arterial fibrillation, heart valve problems, hyper lipidema (high fat levels in the blood), hypertension, intravenous drug use, and temporal arteritis.


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