Retinal vein occlusion is a condition where the blood vessel at the back of the eye (in the retina) gets blocked and results in retinal bleeding and often swelling, resulting in a variable degree of vision loss. This is a serious condition and needs prompt assessment by an ophthalmologist. When there is swelling of the macular, treatment is offered in the form of “anti-VEGF” eye injections (such as Lucentis, Eylea or Avastin), or newer drugs like slow-release steroid implant injection (Ozurdex). These treatments are highly effective and safe and have been proven to help improve and protect vision in the majority of patients with retinal vein occlusion. Although these injection-based treatments have become the mainstay of treatment, in some patients, retinal laser treatment may also be of benefit, often in combination with the injection therapy.
Cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol or smoking, are key modifiable risk factors for the development of retinal vein occlusion. Therefore, it is important that these are medically treated to prevent the risk of another vascular occlusion in the eye or elsewhere that could lead to heart attack or stroke of the brain.
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