How is retinal vein occlusion (RVO) treated?

Unfortunately, there is no way actually to unblock retinal veins. However, the doctor can treat any health problems that seem to be related to the retinal vein occlusion.

Vision may come back in some eyes that have had a retinal vein occlusion. About 1/3 have some improvement, about 1/3 stay the same and about 1/3 gradually improve, but it can take a year or more to learn the final outcome. In some cases, the blocked vessels will lead to fluid accumulation in the retina, like sponges absorbing water. In others, they may cause the formation of new blood vessels.

Some of the treatments for retinal vein occlusion include:

  • Intravitreal injection of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs: These drugs target VEGF, which is an important growth factor that causes macular edema.
  • Intravitreal injection of corticosteroid drugs: These drugs combat the inflammatory components which lead to edema.
  • Focal laser therapy: This treatment provides lasers to areas of swelling to cause a reduction in edema.
  • Pan-retinal photocoagulation therapy: This treatment is used when patients have new blood vessel formation following the retinal vein occlusion.

What is follow-up care?

Return visits are recommended to monitor your disease progress. It is important to detect changes in your condition and formulate treatment plans as needed. It is also important to inform your primary care doctor of your retinal vein occlusion, so he or she can evaluate and treat any underlying systemic illnesses.

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