About retinal vein occlusion (RVO)
The second most common cause of blindness from retinal vascular disease – after diabetic retinopathy – is retinal vein occlusion (RVO). RVO is thought to negatively affect quality of life for 16 million patients worldwide21.
Patients suffering from RVO exhibit a (full or partial) blockage of the veins that drain the retina, caused by the formation of clots. As a consequence, increased pressure in the capillaries can lead to hemorrhage and leakage of fluid and blood, eventually resulting in macular ischemia, neovascular glaucoma, vitreous hemorrhage or, ultimately, retinal detachment.
Depending on the exact location of the occlusion, RVO is classified into three categories:
• Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO)
• Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO)
• Hemiretinal vein occlusion (HRVO)
Fundus photograph composition of the left eye, showing flame-shaped and blot hemorrhages in the superotemporal quadrant, with hard exudates surrounding the fovea.
This image was originally published in the ASRS Retina Image Bank. Gerardo Garcia-Aguirre, MD. Noemí Hernández. Asociación para Evitar la Ceguera en México. Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion with Macular Edema. Retina Image Bank. 2015; Image Number 322. © the American Society of Retina Specialists.
Who does RVO affect?
Various studies show no difference between men and women in terms of incidence. The prevalence of all types, however, increases with age, peaking in patients older than 65 years.
At present, there is no treatment option for clearing retinal veins in RVO patients. The current standard of care for RVO primarily focuses on the treatment of visual impairment due to macular edema resulting from an existing retinal vein occlusion (central or branch retinal vein occlusion). Although the current treatment paradigm improves the patient’s vision, it comes at a relatively high cost associated with continued drug administration and physician follow-up.
21 Rogers S, McIntosh RL, Cheung N, Lim L, Wang JJ, Mitchell P, et al. The prevalence of retinal vein occlusion: pooled data from population studies from the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Ophthalmology. 2010;117