Information for healthcare professionals about RVO.

Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is the most common retinal vascular disorder after diabetes. Occlusion of a retinal vein causes haemorrhage and macular oedema, which can lead to a painless reduction in vision. The incidence of RVO is significantly associated with age, particularly over the age of 70 years.1

There are two types of RVO2:

  • Branch RVO  (BRVO), which results from thrombosis at an arteriovenous crossing where an artery and vein share a common vascular sheath
  • Central RVO (CRVO), which results from thrombosis of the central retinal vein when it passes through the lamina cribrosa.

Branch RVO occurs between 2 and 6 times more frequently than central RVO.2

RVO can cause vision loss in different ways, with the most common being macular oedema. RVO can be broadly classified as ischaemic or non-ischaemic. Retinal ischaemia results in increased production of VEGF, which promotes new vessel formation in the iris and/or the retina. Further complications can include neovascular glaucoma, vitreous haemorrhage and tractional retinal detachment.2

Treatment options for RVO include observation, intravitreal steroids, anti-VEGF agents and laser therapy.2



  1. Karia N. Clin Ophthalmol 2010;4:809–816.
  2. Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) guidelines. July 2015. Available at: https://www.rcophth.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Retinal-Vein-Occlusion-RVO-Guidelines-July-2015.pdf [Accessed July 2020].
OPT20-E023d September 2020.

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