Diagnosis and Treatment​

RVO is diagnosed only after a complete eye exam, which is why it is so important to see your eye doctor regularly. If your eye doctor suspects you have RVO, you will be referred to a specialist. At that point, you will be given a full eye exam that may include:

A Visual Acuity Test – using an eye chart, the doctor measures how well you see at different distances.

A Dilated Eye Exam – after dilating your pupils using special drops, the doctor is able to examine your retina and optic nerve for problems by using a special magnifying glass.

Tonometry – the doctor measures the pressure inside of your eyes using a special instrument. Drops may be used before this test to numb your eyes.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT​) – using a special camera, the doctor takes pictures of your retina. This better helps your doctor to diagnose, treat and manage retinal diseases. 

How is RVO treated? 

Treatment for RVO can involve a variety of methods, depending on the recommendations made by your specialist. Together, you will determine the treatment method that is best for you. Some methods include*:

Anti-Angiogenic Drugs

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) is a protein that is thought to be a trigger for growth of abnormal blood vessels in the macula, which can result in macular edema and vision loss. Anti-VEGF drugs are injected into the affected eye, sometimes on a monthly basis for two years or longer to help prevent this from happening. The only anti-VEGF therapy currently approved by Health Canada for the treatment of vision loss due to macular edema secondary to RVO is Lucentis (ranibizumab).

Steroid Intravitreal (eye) Implants

Dexamethasone implants contain a very potent steroid that can reduce swelling in the back of your eye, helping to lessen or prevent more damage to the macula. Under general anaesthetic, your doctor will inject a small implant into the back of your eye. Visit the Ozdurex website​ for more information on intravitreal implants. Ozurdex is currently only approved by Health Canada for the treatment of macular edema following central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO).​ 

Laser Photocoagulation

Using a laser, your doctor will seal areas where leaky blood vessels are affecting your central vision. This slows the leakage of fluid, reducing the amount of fluid in the retina. Laser photocoagulation is not used very frequently due the advent of other treatments.

*The coverage for some treatments is not universal across Canada hence your need to ask your doctor. Please see our Self-Advocacy​ section to better prepare yourself when meeting with your doctor.