A very rare eye condition, retinal artery occlusion (RAO) is an ophthalmic emergency, which often results in acute vision loss. In the United States, the incidence of vision loss due to retinal artery occlusion is 1 to 2 cases per 100 000 per year. The patient with RAO requires prompt medical attention and should be transferred to a stroke centre. Retinal artery occlusion refers to the obstruction or blockage of blood to the retina of one eye, causing vision loss.
As a leading eye hospital in Kolkata, we share with you insights on this rare eye disease.
What are the risk factors?
Anyone who is old or has other medical conditions such as diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure are at higher risk to have RAO. Here we have listed down a few of the risk factors:
- Old age
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Damage from radiation treatments
- Birth control pills
- Cardiovascular disease
Symptoms of retinal artery occlusion:
One of the main symptoms of eye stroke or retinal artery occlusion is a sudden painless change in vision. It often happens in only one eye.
Apart from a sudden change in vision, one may notice the following signs or symptoms:
- Blurry or distorted vision
- Blind spots
- Sudden blindness of one eye
How is the eye condition diagnosed?
- The condition is diagnosed by a dilated eye examination.
- The retinal artery occlusion is an area with retinal whitening along the blocked blood vessel. This whitening lasts for around 4 to 6 weeks before it starts fading away.
- Fluorescein angiography is employed to record the blood flow in the retina. It shows a delay in filling the retinal arteries.
- Optical coherence tomography gives detailed images of the central retina. It shows the swelling in the inner layers of the affected area.
- The eye doctor may check the other medical conditions of the patient that are related to retinal artery occlusion.
Treatment for retinal artery occlusion:
Retinal artery occlusion has no clinically proven treatment. However, several therapies are used to treat RAO, including:
- Hyperventilation— In this therapy, the patient is made to inhale carbogen — a mixture of oxygen (95%) and carbon dioxide (5%). Through this, the eye doctors attempt to dilate the retinal arteries and make the blood clot move.
- Paracentesis: In this procedure, fluid is removed from the front of the eye using a small-gauge needle. It is done to lower the intraocular pressure to further dislodge the blood clot.
- Using different medications to lower the intraocular pressure.
- Giving an ocular massage with a thumb to move the embolus.
Looking for a leading eye hospital for retinal problems?
We, at Disha Eye Hospitals, have dedicated retina specialists, who offer the best ophthalmic care possible. As a leading eye hospital, we offer high-quality treatment for retinal conditions as well as for cataracts and glaucoma.