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Central Retinal Vein Occlusion: CRVO Causes, Symptoms, and FAQs

In order to better understand the eye condition known as central retinal vein occlusion, it’s important to analyze certain CRVO causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Central retinal vein occlusion occurs when there is a blockage to the retina’s main vein, known as the central retina vein.

When this vein is blocked to any degree by a blood clot, fluid back-up and swelling of the center of the retina can occur, which is called macular edema. This can cause vision loss and sometimes irreversible damage. Below is some important information regarding the CRVO causes, as well as answers to commonly asked questions regarding the eye condition.

Central Retinal Vein Occlusion Symptoms

While there aren’t many central retinal vein occlusion symptoms, the main symptom most people experience is blurry vision. However, in mild cases, individuals may experience no symptoms at all. In more severe cases, though, there may be pain and redness in the eye. Since early treatment can significantly lower the chance of vision loss from CRVO, individuals experiencing these issues are advised to contact a retina specialist right away, even if the symptoms are mild.

CRVO Causes

The underlying CRVO causes are hard to pinpoint, and the exact cause is still not entirely known. However, CRVO is more common in patients above the age of 50, especially those with high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, glaucoma, and diabetes. Very rarely, an underlying clotting disorder may be identified, though in many cases, no clear CRVO cause is found. A retina specialist will conduct the appropriate medical evaluation that takes your age and medical history into consideration.


How Serious is Central Retinal Vein Occlusion?

As is the case with any eye condition that can cause vision loss, central retinal vein occlusion is a serious condition that should be treated sooner than later in all instances. The lack of a cure for CRVO further warrants a timely response to any and all symptoms, especially since most treatment options work to prevent further progression and vision loss. As a result, identifying the condition before it worsens offers the best chance to slow its progression.

What is a CRVO Diet?

While following a specific diet isn’t going to cure the condition once it develops, research indicates that following a healthy diet on a regular basis can help prevent certain eye conditions, such as CRVO, from developing. It’s been well-documented that diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are all systemic diseases that can directly cause significant vision loss, so it’s crucial to follow a diet that prevents these conditions. This can include dietary changes such as:

  • Eating low-fat foods
  • Baking, broiling, or steaming food instead of frying
  • Eating high-fiber and wholegrain foods such as vegetables
  • Choosing white meat chicken over dark meat
  • Avoiding fast and processed foods
  • Limiting salt intake
  • Minimizing alcohol consumption

How Is CRVO Diagnosed by a Doctor?

Doctors can check for CRVO during a comprehensive dilated eye exam, in which they administer eye drops that dilate the pupil in order to look for CRVO and other eye problems. Some other tests that can help diagnose CRVO include:

  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT) – During an OCT, your doctor will take pictures of your retina using a machine in order to see how much swelling there is. This test can also be used after being diagnosed to check in on the condition’s progression.
  • Fluorescein angiogram – Here, an eye doctor will inject a dye into your arm, which will travel to the eye. This allows the doctor to utilize a camera that will take photos of the retinal veins as the dye moves through them.

Can Central Retinal Vein Occlusion Be Cured?

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for CRVO, but there are some treatment options that can help slow the progression and prevent vision loss. In terms of improving vision, the only known way to do so is to treat the associated macular edema. CRVO treatment options proven to be effective in reducing macula edema and improving vision include medicines injected into the eye, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors and certain steroids. Laser treatment is sometimes used in conjunction with injections. These injections include:

  • Lucentis – FDA approved
  • Eylea – FDA approved
  • Avastin – used off-label
  • Triamcinolone (steroid) – used off-label
  • Ozurdex (steroid) – FDA approved

Central Retinal Vein Occlusion Recovery

CRVO recovery is determined by how well these treatments and injections are curbing the progression of the condition. Some patients may experience a spontaneous improvement in vision. However, in most cases, the vision remains the same or worsens without treatment. For the most part, the more severe the occlusion and associated macular edema, the less likely vision will improve spontaneously.

Mid Atlantic Retina

Mid Atlantic Retina / Wills Eye Physicians are nationally recognized as leading experts in the treatment of macular degeneration and other retinal conditions such as CRVO. Our specialists offer the most advanced treatments for adult and pediatric retinal diseases, and we pride ourselves on providing all of our patients with the highest level of care.

To seek further retina information and personalized care from a board-certified retinal specialist, contact us to schedule an appointment today.