Retinal Artery Occlusion (central & branch)
A retinal artery occlusion occurs when the central retinal artery or one of the arteries that branch off of it becomes blocked. This blockage is typically caused by a tiny embolus (clot) in the blood stream or fat deposit. The occlusion decreases the oxygen supply to the area of the retina nourished by the affected artery, causing permanent vision loss.
A sudden blurring of vision is the primary symptom. It may last for only a few minutes or seconds, or it may be permanent, and is a warning sign of possible clots at other places in the body. In any case such a blockage is serious and needs medical attention. It is considered an ocular emergency.
- Transient loss of vision prior to the artery occlusion (in some cases)
- Central artery occlusion - Sudden, painless and complete loss of vision in one eye
- Branch artery occlusion - Sudden, painless, partial loss of vision in one eye
This condition is due to the blocking of an artery in or near the retina.
A number of conditions increase the risk of problems that may affect the vessels of the eye: including high cholesterol, hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in blood), heart disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma, carotid artery disease (narrowing of neck blood vessels, and temporal arteritis (artery damage due to immune response).
Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can consistently restore vision lost from an artery occlusion. However, if it is caught within the first hour and treatment is initiated immediately, recovery or partial recovery is possible 20-30% of cases.
Since we feel that many eye conditions are associated with the health of the whole body, adjusting lifestyle choices and diet can play a major factor in getting and maintaining good vision.
- Certain nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vinpocetine, l-lysine, a number of vitamins and enzymes, and fish oil can help support healthy vision for those at risk for a retinal artery occlusion. For example, researchers have identified patients with a diet low in antioxidants such as lutein as being at greater risk of developing artherosclerosis.1
- Prevention for conditions such as retinal artery occlusions, along with your doctor's recommendations, is the best course of action to prevent future occurrences. The most important considerations include a healthy, low-fat diet, adequate exercise, stopping smoking, stress management and normalizing weight.
- Some research indicates that daily use of Microcurrent Stimulation may help.
- Diet & lifestyle recommendations - see the protocol for vision health for more information.
Retinal Artery/Vein Occlusion News
Want to learn more? See our blog for news on retinal occlusions.
- Retinal Vein Occlusion - the blockage takes place in a retinal vein rather than a retinal artery.
1. A. N. Howard, D. I. Thurnham, Lutein and atherosclerosis: Belfast versus Toulouse revisited, Medical Hypotheses, January 2017.