Retinal Vascular Diseases
LEARNING MORE ABOUT RETINAL VASCULAR DISEASES
Retinal vascular diseases consist of a range of disorders primarily affecting the flow of blood within retinal blood vessels. While there are many risk factors that contribute to the development of these disorders, there are several very common systemic conditions that can lead to retinal vascular disease, including hypertension, dyslipidemia (e.g. elevated cholesterol and other lipids), and diabetes as well as a smoking history. These systemic conditions lead to several detrimental blood vessel changes: 1) hardening and/or thickening of the walls of retinal blood vessels, 2) incompetence of retinal blood vessels with resultant leakage, and 3) build-up of atherosclerotic plaque in important feeders of retinal blood vessels such as the carotid artery.
Common retinal vascular diseases include:
Retinal vein occlusion (RVO): results from obstruction of a retinal vein leading to the build-up of back pressure in upstream retinal blood vessels and resultant damage to involved blood vessels and potential retinal damage from reduced blood flow. Common signs of an RVO include retinal hemorrhages and swelling (macular edema).