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Central Retinal Artery Occlusion

Central Retinal Artery Occlusion (CRAO)

​A central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) occurs when the main artery supplying blood to the retina becomes blocked or occluded, leading to a sudden and severe loss of vision in one eye.

When an artery is blocked there is lack of blood flow, and the retina is starved for nutrients. Patients are generally followed for the growth of new blood vessels or proliferation. Although it seems like a great idea that new blood vessels are growing in the eye when there is a lack of blood flow, the problem is that they always grow in the wrong places.

These blood vessels are also thin and weak which can lead to breakage leaving the eye full of blood. At this stage treatment is indicated. If the new blood vessels are seen and there is no or minimal hemorrhage or bleeding into the eye, then an injection of medication can decrease these new blood vessels.  Laser can also be done in the office or at the hospital. If the eye is full of blood, then surgery may be indicated to remove the blood.

Dr. Adatia would likely send you for evaluation (to the stroke team in Calgary for evaluation of your heart and neck arteries) to look for the source of the clot. Blood work is often also done to rule out arteritis or inflammation causing the blockage.

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