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Retinal Artery Occlusion

The Woodlands Retina Center

Wael Abdelghani, MD, FACS

Retina and Vitreous Specialist located in The Woodlands, TX

Retinal artery occlusion is sometimes called an eye stroke. When it occurs, it’s essential to seek immediate treatment to diminish vision loss. Dr. Wael Abdelghani at The Woodlands Retina Center has extensive experience in the rapid diagnosis and treatment of retinal artery occlusion and can help you recover visual acuity. If you experience a sudden loss of vision, please call the office in The Woodlands, Texas, or seek immediate medical care.

Retinal Artery Occlusion

What is a retinal artery occlusion?

A retinal artery occlusion is a blocked artery in your retina. It’s the same as a blocked artery anywhere in your body; it’s an emergency that needs rapid attention and can lead to serious complications.

Are you at risk of retinal artery occlusion?

Your chances of developing retinal artery occlusion may be higher if you have:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Increased tendency toward blood clotting.

What are the symptoms of retinal artery occlusion?

You can develop two types of retinal artery occlusion:

  • Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO): Blockage in the central artery of your retina
  • Branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO): Blockage of the small arteries in your retina

The most common symptom of both types is sudden, painless vision loss in one eye. If you have CRAO, vision loss may affect your entire eye while BRAO may only affect part of the eye.

Your symptoms may also include:

  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Distorted vision (straight lines look wavy)
  • Blind spots

Before CRAO develops, you may experience temporary vision loss that only lasts a few seconds but may come and go over several minutes. This same symptom often signals carotid artery disease. Patients may have a silent ischemic stroke at the same time they develop a retinal artery occlusion.

How is retinal artery occlusion treated?

Treatment for retinal artery occlusion must be obtained quickly. Dr. Abdelghani may consider several treatments, depending on the results of diagnostic tests.

Treatments generally focus on techniques to widen the arteries, remove vitreous from the eye, and relieve eye pressure. In some cases, anticoagulant medication or ocular massage may be used to remove the clot causing the blockage.

Following retinal artery occlusion, Dr. Abdelghani may recommend more frequent eye exams to watch for abnormal arterial growth that often occurs following an occlusion.

These arteries tend to bleed and leak into the surrounding tissues, which increases your risk of vision loss. When they’re caught early, several treatments can be used to eliminate the arteries or slow their growth.

Please call Dr. Abdelghani for an immediate dilated eye examination and other advanced diagnostic procedures any time you experience sudden vision loss.