What is an Eye Stroke – Understanding Retinal Vascular Occlusion

Retina is the heart and brain of the eye. Once it stops functioning, the eye loses its function. Just like we have Brain stroke, Heart attack we have stroke of the eye as well where blood supply to the Retina is blocked or compromised.

Central Retinal Arterial Occlusion (CRAO)

If the artery of the Retina becomes blocked then this leads to a condition which is known as CRAO. This is an emergency situation of the eye because if the retinal circulation is not restored within time this ca lead to permanent loss of vision or even blindness.
A Patient with CRAO generally complaints of sudden loss of vision. This is painless and not associated with any redness of the eyes.

What are the Early Signs of CRAO

Even though CRAO occurs suddenly there are few warning signs which can be picked up to diagnose this condition early. Some may complain of Black Outs or sudden loss of vision for seconds. This generally lasts for a few seconds to minutes which is followed by complete recovery of vision. Others may also feel weakness of body or symptoms of giddiness. This is also known as Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). This should not be taken lightly and an immediate Retina evaluation should be done by visiting a Retina Specialist or VR surgeon.

What are the treatment options available for CRAO

Most important factor in treatment of CRAO is time. As already mentioned CRAO is an emergency condition and treatment should be started within hours and no later than 4 hours.

To release the block eye pressure is lowered by giving drops, tablets or even removing fluid from the eye.

Once this is done your eyes may be massage by your Retina surgeon and you may be given special gasses to breathe like Carbogen or Hyperbaric Oxygen.

Depending on the severity of the block you may be advised to ago ahead with thrombolysis to dissolve the clot.

Sometimes even a Vitrectomy or Retina Surgery may be advised.

What are the risk factors for CRAO

Anything which will make the blood thick or lead to clots in the body is a risk factor for CRAO. Heart disease, Valve disorders, Hypertension or high Blood Pressure, Diabetes Mellitus, Oral Contraceptive Pills, Lupus, Arteritis, Auto immune disorders can lead to Central Retinal Artery occlusion. Such patients have high risk for other Retinal disorders as well. Hence a regular or annual Fundus examination is a must for such patients.

Does CRAO only affect the eye

As they say ‘ Eye is the window to the body’ CRAO is a sign of impending clots happening in various parts of the body. After your treatment for CRAO your Retina Specialist will investigate you for various conditions like heart diseases and clotting abnormalities. You may have to undergo screening of the brain and perform angiography of the brain. Other than this you may be advised to undergo screening of your heart to see if the valves are functioning fine.

Who & where to take treatment for CRAO

CRAO is treated by a Retina Specialist. You should check with your local ophthalmologist and meet the nearest Vitreo Retina Surgeon near you immediately. Searching on Google or Apple maps for ‘ Retina specialist Near me’ or ‘VR surgeon near me’ will lead you to the nearest doctor.

If you are in Mumbai you can visit Soni Eye Care Center 24 X 7 for any emergency related to the retina or eye. Our team of dedicated Retina Specialists will provide you the best possible treatment. Dr. Anuj Soni and Dr. Asmita Soni are available in Mulund & Thane for your Fundus and Retina related diseases. Call us at 7715945144 to fix an appointment