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Arterial and Venous Occlusions

Certain systemic conditions such as hypertension(high blood pressure), diabetes mellitus(high blood sugar levels), prothrombotic disorders(wherein the blood tends to clot within the blood vessels), dyslipidemia(high cholesterol and fat levels in the body) predispose an individual to development of a blockage of the blood circulation within the eye.

An arterial occlusion (blockage of the blood vessel that takes blood to the eye) results in sudden, and often total loss of vision. If diagnosed within the first six hours of its occurrence, it is reversible to an extent. If discovered late, it can result in irreversible damage to the retina (the back portion of the eye).

Venous occlusion may not cause any complaints, but often do result in a drop in vision, especially if they involve the central portion of the retina(the macula and fovea). If the blood supply to the central portion of the eye is fine, early treatment often yields excellent results. However, treatment may need to be repeated in certain cases. In some cases, new blood vessels are formed on the retina and, if they bleed, can reduce the vision further.

Both conditions affect one eye first, and serve as a warning for more serious conditions, such as a heart attack(myocardial infarction) or stroke. In many ways, these conditions are like 'a stroke in the eye'.

Treatment consists either of laser photocoagulation or intravitreal injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents. Surgery may be required in certain cases. All patients are advised regular follow up and good systemic control to ensure this disease process does not affect the other eye.

Contact us if you have any queries related to vascular diseases of the eye.


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