Retinal Occlusion: Everything You Need to Know About Blood Clot in Eye
Retinal occlusion refers to the blockage of the blood vessels supplying the retina. There are 2 types of blood vessels in the retina: arteries and veins. When one of them is blocked, a kind of eye stroke occurs.
It is a serious condition that can cause severe vision loss. The severity depends on the extent and location of the occlusion and the loss of blood flow. It is usually painless and unilateral – it happens in only one eye.
The factor that increases the risk of the disease is age – most retinal vessel occlusions happen in people in their 60’s or 70’s. They are more common in men than in women. Only 1% to 2% of retinal occlusions involve both eyes.
This text will deal with the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and retinal occlusion treatment options, including acupuncture and Chinese Herbs.
How to Get Rid of Blood Clot in Eye at Makari Wellness
After 15 years of experience in helping you keep your most important sense strong, our patients report experiencing vision recovery, slower progression of the condition, improved visual acuity, regulated high ocular pressure, and improved overall quality of life.
Combining acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for retinal vein occlusion can have incredible results. Here at Makari Wellness, we improve blood flow and nerve conductivity and provide unique treatments for any condition.
What Causes Blood Clot in Your Eye?
The retina is a layer at the back of the eyeball containing light-sensitive cells. It triggers nerve impulses that pass via the optic nerve to the brain, where a visual image is formed. The ophthalmic artery supplies the retina with oxygenated blood, while the vein drains the blood from the retina.
Arteries and veins in the retina are ‘tightly packed’ and cross over each other. Therefore, the loss of blood supply from occlusion can happen when a patient suffers from:
- Atherosclerosis, where plaque forms in the arteries. This plaque is made of fat, calcium, cholesterol, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, an artery can narrow a lot, making blood difficult to flow through. Sometimes the plaque can break off, causing a blockage to the smaller vessel downstream, and it is called an embolism.
- Thrombosis causes a blood clot in the retinal vein, so it becomes blocked.
- Diabetes can also damage blood vessels, harden them and make them narrower.
- Faulty heart valves (valvular heart disease)
- Homocystinuria a hereditary disease preventing your body from processing the amino acid methionine, leading to the accumulation of the homocysteine in the blood and urine.
- Heart tumors (myxoma)
- Blood platelet abnormalities
- Giant-cell arteritis, an inflammatory disease of the blood vessels.
- High blood pressure
- Eye trauma
- High cholesterol levels
- Blood clotting disorders
Some complications after the retinal occlusion may happen, and they include:
- Glaucoma – high pressure in the eye.
- Macular edema – swelling is caused by the leakage of fluid in the retina.
- Neovascularization – the retina can develop new, abnormal blood vessels. Those vessels may leak blood or fluid into the eyeball.
- Retinal detachment – with severe neovascularization, a retina may detach from the back of the eye but is usually an infrequent complication.
More on Eye Disorders:
- DIABETIC RETINOPATHY DEFINITION, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT OPTIONS
- MACULAR DEGENERATION: DEFINITION, SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS
- EXPERT’S GUIDE THROUGH GLAUCOMA SYMPTOMS, TREATMENTS, AND PREVENTION
- SYMPTOMS AND ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS OF NON-ARTERITIC ANTERIOR ISCHEMIC OPTIC NEUROPATHY
- MYOPIA EXPLAINED: THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND NATURAL TREATMENTS
- MACULAR DYSTROPHY: CAUSE, SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT
Retinal Artery Occlusion vs. Retinal Vein Occlusion
Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood rich in oxygen and nutrients to the retina. In contrast, veins carry oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart and lungs for reoxygenation. So, we can talk about retinal artery occlusion and retinal vein occlusion when a blockage occurs. Depending on whether the retinal clot is formed in the main or smaller (branch) blood vessels, we have several types of retinal occlusion:
- When retinal clot forms in the central artery, we have a central retinal artery occlusion.
- When it forms in the central vein, we have central retinal vein occlusion.
- When it is formed in the branch artery, we have branch retinal artery occlusion.
- When formed in the branch vein, we then have branch retinal vein occlusion.
Retinal Artery Occlusion Symptoms/ Retinal Vein Occlusion Symptoms
The primary symptom of the retinal occlusion is a sudden, usually painless, vision loss. The blood clot in the retina rarely affects both eyes. At first, the blurring or loss of vision might be slight, but it can worsen over the next few hours or days. Some symptoms may include:
- Missing or blurry vision in one part or all of an eye
- Sense of pressure in the eye
- Dark spots or floaters in your vision
However, around 25% of people who develop retinal artery occlusion have an extra artery called cilioretinal artery in their eyes. When the blockage occurs, this artery can help in minimizing the damage to the central vision, as long as it is not affected.
When a smaller branch artery or vein is affected, branched retinal artery occlusion or branched retinal vein occlusion may go unnoticed and without symptoms.
The blockage may be small and last for several seconds if an embolus or thrombus breaks up and the blood flow to the retina is restored. But it can also be permanent with severe vision damage.
It is crucial to make an appointment as soon as you experience any changes in your vision.
Retinal Occlusion Diagnostics
Your doctor will check your eyes thoroughly if there is any vision problem. He or she will put eye drops into your eyes to dilate the pupil and check the pressure within your eye together with the physical appearance. A device called an ophthalmoscope is used to check your retina for signs of bleeding or blockage. In addition, the following eye tests may be done:
- OCT (Optical coherence tomography) is an imaging technique typically employing near-infrared light to make two and three-dimensional images of the tissue. It can determine the presence of edema by measuring the thickness of your retina.
- Fluorescein angiography is a procedure in which a fluorescent dye is injected into the bloodstream to highlight blood vessels in the back of the eye so a specialized camera can photograph them. This technique examines the circulation of the retina and choroid.
Retinal Occlusion Treatment
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the eyes blood clot. For any treatment for retinal vein occlusion and retinal artery occlusion to be potentially effective must be deployed within a short time window (usually within 4-6 hours after the symptoms begin).
However, some studies have shown that the retina suffers irreversible damage after only 90 minutes of ischemia (blood flow loss), so despite all the efforts to preserve vision, most patients suffer severe vision loss.
There is no effective treatment for retinal occlusion, but there are treatments for the complications related to retinal occlusion. This includes:
- Injections of anti-VEGF drugs into the eyeball (intravitreal injections) to prevent the growth of the new blood vessels.
- Intravitreal injections of corticosteroid drugs that reduce the swelling (edema).
- Laser therapy burns and seals off blood vessels near the macula and keeps them from leaking.
- Paracentesis is the removal of excess fluid using a small-gauge needle. It helps in lowering the intraocular pressure.
- Ocular massage with a thumb to dislodge the clot.
- Hyperventilation is a carbogen inhaling, which is a mixture of 95% of oxygen and 5% of carbon dioxide to attempt to dilate the retinal arteries and cause a clot to dislodge.
Natural Treatment for Eye Stroke
Acupuncture for Eye Stroke
As a part of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), acupuncture for retinal clot can contribute to the recovery of visual function. Acupuncture is a procedure where thin, sterile needles are inserted through the skin at specific points in the body. These points are called acupuncture points and are located on meridians.
Meridians are energy pathways that run throughout the body, and when that energy is in balance, there is no illness. But when the energy is blocked, a health problem occurs.
According to the TCM, all internal organs are connected to the eyes, especially the liver and kidneys. Therefore, it is said that the eyes are a reflection of the overall health. The eye problems are treated by promoting the circulation of the life force (or Qi) and blood around the eyes.
There are several powerful acupuncture points around they are that are beneficial for eye health.
- Bright Eyes (Jingming) is an acupoint located in the inner corner of the eye, and it is a primary point to bring Qi and blood to the eyes.
- Behind the Ball (Quihou) is located at the junction of the lateral 1/4th and the medial 3/4th of the infraorbital margin. It is used for all types of eye problems, including retinal occlusion.
- Fish’s Lumbus (Yuyao) is located directly above the pupil, in the hollow at the midpoint of the eyebrow, used for the swelling of the eye.
- Pupil Crevice (Tongziliao) is located in a foramen lateral to the outer canthus and on a level with the pupil. It is suitable for poor vision and the cloudiness of the cornea.
Herbs for Retinal Vein Occlusion
Chinese Herbal Therapy and Supplementation can also be a part of a branch retinal vein occlusion natural treatment. The herbs are carefully selected for their therapeutic properties, scent, and flavor. They are part of the dietary supplements and can be used in the form of dried, fresh plants, teas, liquid extracts, powders, and capsules. Some of the most common include:
- Pseudogingseng root repairs broken blood vessels in the eye and clears ‘blood spots.’
- Goji berries are great for blurred vision.
- Chrysanthemum flower are used for blurry vision, dizziness, and floater in front of the eyes.
- Red peony root promotes blood circulation in the eyes.
- Celosia seed is an herb specific for retinal occlusion because it calms the nervous system down and cools the liver off.