Retinal Vein Occlusion

Retinal Vein Occlusion is an eye condition in which a blockage (occlusion) develops in a vein of the retina.

As a result, blood can no longer drain and the retina swells. This can occur in a portion of the retina (partial retinal vein occlusion) or in the entire retina (central retinal vein occlusion).

This sometimes leads to a portion of the retina not getting sufficient blood flow due to the swelling. This results in oxygen depletion, potentially leading to new blood vessels growing on the retina. These blood vessels are extremely fragile and can cause bleeding in the eye and increase eye pressure. In serious cases, the eye can go blind and be painful.


The ophthalmologist will perform additional examinations in order to determine retinal vein occlusion and in order to establish the seriousness of the complications. The examinations include an eye fundus examination, OCT and fluo-angiography.

For this examination, the ophthalmologist will use eye drops to dilate the pupil. You will experience blurred vision for a few hours. After this examination you will not be able to drive a car for a number of hours.


Because retinal vein occlusion can be the result of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, clotting disorders and the like, we refer patients to their general practitioner for a overall check-up. Usually the actual clot in the blood vessel cannot be resolved.

The consequences from retinal vein occlusion (retinal swelling, oxygen depletion, and the growth of new blood vessels) can be treated with intravitreal injections and/or a laser.

Intravitreal injections

For this, the ophthalmologist injects a small amount of medicine into the eye under local anesthesia. The medicines that are used in the eye are ranibizumab, aflibercept, bevacizumab or triamcinolone. These injections are carried out in the case of swelling in the central part of the retina (macular edema) or in the case of new blood vessels growing on the retina. The medication has a temporary effect and must be regularly administered.

Laser treatment of the retina

A laser is used in order to slow down the growth of new blood vessels on the retina. The ophthalmologist can give some of these injections at the eye clinic in Winksele. Other injections will need to be given at the hospital. In some cases, another laser treatment or photodynamic therapy can be appropriate. These eye laser treatments are very different from the eye laser treatments in order to see better without glasses or contact lenses.

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