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FAQs on Retinal Artery Occlusion: 

What is retinal artery occlusion?

Retinal artery occlusion can occur when the artery located in your retina becomes blocked, making it unable to transfer oxygen and cells to the back of the eye and causing a severe loss of vision. When discussing central retinal vein occlusion vs central retinal artery occlusion with your ophthalmologist, it’s important to remember that while both conditions affect blood vessels, one affects the veins and the other affects an artery.

What are the causes of retinal artery occlusion?

Your retinal artery can become clogged for a variety of reasons, particularly by an embolus (or a piece of cholesterol) or a thrombus (blood clot). Because of this, any risk factors for high cholesterol or blood clots are also risk factors for retinal artery occlusion. The most common risk factors include:

  • Arterial disease or valvular heart disease
  • Myxoma, or heart tumors
  • Abnormal heart rhythms 
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Sickle cell disease
  • History of intravenous drug use

Retinal artery occlusion is most often found in male patients in their sixties and older, and usually affects only one eye.

What are the symptoms of retinal artery occlusion?

The primary symptom of retinal artery occlusion is sudden vision loss in one eye. The location of your vision loss will depend on which portion of the artery has become affected. their eyes. Like retinal vein occlusion, there are two types of retinal artery occlusion with slightly different symptoms:

  • Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO), which affects a main artery and causes more severe vision loss.
  • Branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO), which affects smaller arteries and causes a less severe loss of vision in a smaller section of your eye.

How can you treat retinal artery occlusion?

The best way to avoid retinal artery occlusion is to manage your risk factors and prevent symptoms from appearing in the first place. While there is no single proven cure for retinal artery occlusion, Dr. Parvus can employ several therapeutic techniques to help manage your symptoms. These techniques include:

  • Hyperventilation, which involves inhaling carbogen (95% oxygen and 5% carbon dioxide) to dilate your arteries and dislodge the clot.
  • Paracentesis, which involves removing fluid from the front of the eye using a small needle to dislodge the clot.
  • Medication, which can help to lower intraocular pressure.
  • Ocular massage, during which gentle massage with a thumb may dislodge the clot.

If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of retinal artery occlusion, reach out to Dr. Parvus immediately, as all of these therapies lose effectiveness within the first 6 hours after symptoms appear.   

Retinal Artery Occlusion Treatment - Media, PA

If you are at a high risk for blood clots, it’s important to be aware of how retinal artery occlusion can damage your vision.

At Infinity Retina, Dr. Britt J. Parvus has the specialized experience to help you prevent and manage the symptoms of retinal artery occlusion. Using her personalized approach, Dr. Parvus will work directly with you to develop a treatment plan in which you are comfortable and confident.

Don’t wait to treat retinal artery occlusion. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Parvus today.