Central retinal vein occlusions imply that the main vein leaving the eye from the retina is blocked. This blockage usually leaves a picture of bleeding in all four quadrants of the retina. This central retinal vein occlusion can lead to very devastating loss in vision depending on whether or not capillaries are lost (an ischemic central retinal vein occlusion), or if capillaries are present (a non-ischemic central retinal vein occlusion). Non-ischemic central retinal vein occlusions have a better prognosis for visual improvement. Central retinal vein occlusions also can be accompanied by macular edema or swelling of the macula and this can be treated by either laser or by injections of anti-VEGF drug. Central retinal vein occlusions still can be devastating to the letter-reading visual acuity of the eye and in addition, can contribute to a very difficult to manage form of glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma.

The symptoms of central retinal vein occlusions are very severe with a very acute loss of vision routinely. Younger people with central retinal vein occlusions seem to have a better prognosis than older individuals. Vein occlusions often are associated with other types of systemic problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Therefore, it is important in people with central retinal vein occlusions to have a systemic evaluation to make sure that issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes are being taken care of. There are other issues that also can contribute to vein occlusions, such as medications or a hypercoaguable state in the circulation and these also require an evaluation to see if therapy might be adjusted in those situations.