Symptoms Associated With a Retinal Vein Occlusion
If you experience a sudden, painless decrease in vision, you may have a retinal vein occlusion. Typically RVO’s are localized to one eye. A CRVO will cause blurred vision throughout the entire field of vision, meaning that both your central vision and peripheral vision will be affected. A BRVO, on the other hand, typically only affects a subset of your vision – usually the upper or lower parts of your peripheral vision, though the central vision can still be affected.
In some instances, patients may not notice a significant distortion in their vision as our eyes often work together and one eye may compensate for the decrease in vision of the other eye. To evaluate each eye independently, cover one eye with your hand and monitor your vision then do the same for the opposite eye. If you notice one eye is suddenly increasingly blurry, it is important to be evaluated quickly.
How is a Retinal Vein Occlusion Diagnosed?
If you have a sudden decrease in vision, especially in one eye, it is important to seek a prompt dilated eye exam with an ophthalmologist, specifically a retina specialist. The sooner that your RVO is evaluated and diagnosed, the better prognosis of your visual outcome.
At your ophthalmology appointment, your eyes will be dilated and your vision will be assessed. Your ophthalmologist will also obtain specialized imaging of your retina, such as an OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) or fundus photography to evaluate if there is any blood, swelling, or hemorrhage in the eye.
Your retina specialist may also send you for an appropriate laboratory work-up if applicable as retinal vein occlusions can sometimes be related to other systemic diseases, such as autoimmune conditions.