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Central Retinal Vein Occlusion

Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO) occurs when the central retinal vein becomes blocked. When the central retinal vein is blocked, blood circulation is reduced. This can cause macular edema, or an excessive accumulation of fluid in the retinal tissue, which can cause blurry or distorted vision. Additionally, CRVO can be classified as ischemic (very poor blood flow to the eye) or non-ischemic (favorable blood flow to the eye). Ischemic CRVO has a poorer visual prognosis due to the lack of blood flow to the eye.


The most common symptom of CRVO is blurred vision although individuals with mild CRVO may not experience any symptoms. In more severe cases, symptoms can include mild to intense pain or redness in the eye, which may also be a sign of neovascular glaucoma.

Causes and Associations

CRVO is more common in patients 50 years or older or in patients with the following complications:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Glaucoma

In rare cases, an underlying clotting disorder may be identified with no underlying cause.


A comprehensive eye examination is important to assess CRVO, including vision acuity testing, eye drops to dilate the pupils, and a complete examination of the front and back of the eye. It is best if a driver accompanies the patient during their eye exam as pupillary dilation may result in near-vision blurring.

People with CRVO may undergo several tests to evaluate their condition including:


The only known way to improve vision is to treat the associated macular edema with intravitreal injection. Most patients notice some improvement in vision with treatment.

Intravitreal Injections

Intravitreal injections are used to treat many retinal conditions. With this treatment, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors or steroids are injected directly into the eye. This procedure is performed in the office and requires only a local anesthetic. Intravitreal injections may be administered as frequently as once a month, depending on the condition being treated, in order to maintain eye health and optimize vision.

Regular monitoring after the initial diagnosis of CRVO is crucial. In about one-third of all cases, a severe form of glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma can develop.

If you have any signs or symptoms of CRVO, contact us today to meet with a Mid Atlantic Retina specialist. Our team can work with you to protect your vision and minimize your complications.