Retinal Artery Occlusions

What is a Retinal Artery Occlusion?

The retina has two blood supplies.  The first is under the retina called the choroid.  The second, is a large artery (central retinal artery) and a large vein (central retinal vein) in the center of the optic nerve. Sometimes clots can form in the artery that block blood flow to the retina.  This is similar to a stroke, and will result in an area of the retina that is blind.  If the center of the retina, or fovea is involved, the central vision will drop dramatically.  Unfortunately, there is no good treatment for retinal artery occlusions.  However, it is very important to be evaluated for sources of emboli (carotid ultrasound and 2-D echo of heart) or inflammatory conditions such as giant cell arteritis, to prevent future strokes.