When a blood clot forms in a retinal vein, it prevents blood from flowing from the retina back to the heart. This is known as a retinal vein occlusion, sometimes referred to as a stroke in the eye.
The retinal nerve cells need a constant flow of blood to deliver the proper oxygen and nutrients. When this flow is disrupted, damage occurs, causing fluid leakage in the retina or hemorrhages (bleeding). Additionally, abnormal blood vessels may begin to grow causing retinal swelling (edema).
Without the proper treatment, a retinal vein occlusion can lead to irreversible loss of vision.
In some situations, your retinal specialist may recommend that you undergo retinal laser therapy. The laser can be applied to the central retinal to reduce the swelling of the retina. If there is a growth of new blood vessels, panretinal photocoagulation can be applied 360 degrees to suppress abnormal growth of new blood vessels in the retina.