Central Retinal Artery Occlusion

Central Retinal Artery Occlusion: Facts, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

What Is Central Retinal Artery Occlusion?

Central Retinal Artery Occlusion is a pathological condition in which the arteries which carry blood to the eye become blocked resulting in sudden vision loss in the affected eye. The retina is a layer of nerves behind the inner eye who function is to sense light. The function of the retina is to transform images into signals which are sent to brain via the optic nerves and an individual is able to see the image. Thus, a blockage of the artery in the retina is potentially a serious condition. This blockage usually is caused due to a clot or fatty deposits in the blood vessels. Central Retinal Artery Occlusion is a condition which requires immediate medical attention because if the clot traverses and reaches the brain then it may result in a stroke.

Central Retinal Artery Occlusion

Facts About Central Retinal Artery Occlusion

The main risk factors for development of Central Retinal Artery Occlusion are hypertension and normal process of aging. Apart from this, glaucoma, diabetes, and medical conditions which cause the blood to become thick also raise the risk for development of Central Retinal Artery Occlusion. Females who chronically use oral contraceptives are also at increased risk of developing Central Retinal Artery Occlusion. If an individual develops Central Retinal Artery Occlusion, then there may be some degree of vision loss which may never be recovered.

What Are The Symptoms Of Central Retinal Artery Occlusion?

Symptoms Of Central Retinal Artery Occlusion Include:

  • Sudden blindness in one or both eyes
  • Sudden blurring of vision in one or both eyes
  • Gradual loss of vision.

These above mentioned symptoms may last for minutes to seconds but in some cases it may be permanent.

How Is Central Retinal Artery Occlusion Diagnosed?

If the treating physician suspects that an individual has Central Retinal Artery Occlusion, then the physician will conduct a detailed ophthalmological examination. The physician may also perform additional testing so as to assess the extent of damage caused to the eye by Central Retinal Artery Occlusion. The test of choice is the funduscopic examination done through a slit lamp. The physician will also check for markers of Central Retinal Artery Occlusion like hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma and will test the blood to check whether it is thicker than normal. The physician will also check for presence of clotting disorder.

What Are The Treatments For Central Retinal Artery Occlusion?

The treatment used to correct Central Retinal Artery Occlusion is the laser treatment. Experts believe that if an affected individual presents with a vision of at least 20/40 then the likelihood of recovering vision is pretty good. There have been some promising results with hyperbaric oxygen therapy for treating this disease. In majority of cases, hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides enough supplemental oxygen to ensure that the retina functions appropriately until normal circulation is returned. The success of this therapy is dependent on the type of blockage and how quickly the therapy is started. Researchers are of the opinion that this therapy works best if started within 10 hours of blockage.

In some cases, the physician may attempt to open the retina manually by massaging the affected area or using medications that break clots like TPA medications.

How Can Retinal Artery Occlusion Be Prevented?

As stated, Central Retinal Artery Occlusion is closely linked to diabetes and hypertension and their respective complications. Hence, good control of blood pressure and blood sugar is imperative for preventing Central Retinal Artery Occlusion. For this, an individual needs to eat a healthy balanced diet, avoid smoking and drinking, and maintain ideal weight.

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