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Strokes of the Retina

What are retinal strokes?

Diagram of the retina

Eye strokes occur when blockages (occlusions) occur in arteries or veins in the retina, causing vision loss. This “stroke” is called a retinal artery occlusion. Just as strokes occur in other parts of the body because blood flow is blocked, your eye also may suffer damage when vital parts such as the retina and optic nerve are cut off from nutrients and oxygen flowing through your blood. The severity of vision loss depends on the extent and location of the occlusion(s) and loss of blood flow.

During a dilated eye exam your doctor may recommend a fluorescein angiogram. This test is often used to confirm the diagnosis in these cases.

What are my treatment options?

Treatment options for retinal strokes are very limited, however, laser therapy or steroids have been found to help stabilize vision.

You may also need to follow up with your family physician to be evaluated for other underlying causes such as artery disease or high blood pressure. As with all procedures, the risks, benefits, and alternatives must always be considered.

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