Retinal Artery Occlusion

Branch Retinal Artery Occlusion

Most people know that high blood pressure and other vascular diseases pose risks to overall health, but many may not know that high blood pressure can affect vision by damaging the arteries in the eye.

retinal artery occlussion 1Branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO) blocks the small arteries in the retina, the light-sensing nerve layer lining the back of the eye. The most common cause of BRAO is a thrombosis, the formation of a blood clot. Sometimes the blockage is caused by an embolus, a clot carried by the blood from another part of the body.

Central vision is lost suddenly if the blocked retinal artery is one that nourishes the macula, the part of the retina responsible for fine, sharp vision. Following BRAO, vision can range from normal (20/20) to being barely able to detect hand movement.

BRAO poses significant risks to vision. If you have had a branch retinal artery occlusion, regular visits to your ophthalmologist are essential.

Central Retinal Artery Occlusion

You probably know that high blood pressure and other vascular diseases pose risks to your overall health, but you may not know that they can affect your eyesight by damaging the arteries in your eye.

retinal artery occlussion 2Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) usually occurs in people between the ages of 50 and 70. The most common medical problem associated with CRAO is arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Carotid artery disease is found in almost half the people with CRAO.

The most common cause of CRAO is a thrombosis (an abnormal blood clot formation). CRAO can also be caused by an embolus, a clot that breaks off from another area of the body and is carried to the retina by the bloodstream.

CRAO blocks the central artery in your retina, the light-sensitive nerve layer at the back of the eye. The first sign of CRAO is a sudden and painless loss of vision that leaves you barely able to count fingers or determine light from dark.

Loss of vision can be permanent without immediate treatment. Irreversible retinal damage occurs after 90 minutes, but even 24 hours after symptoms begin, vision can still be saved. The goal of emergency treatment is to restore retinal blood flow. After emergency treatment, you should have a thorough medical evaluation.

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