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Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO)

Central Retinal Artery Occlusion is usually associated with a hardening of the arteries, commonly known as arteriosclerosis. Carotid artery disease is usually present in almost half of the people with CRAO.

Central retinal artery occlusion is considered to be a stroke.

CRAO Risk Factors

There are some common risk factors associated with the CRAO. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Blood clot
  • Age - this condition is most common in people who are from 50 to 70 years old

CRAO Symptoms

People with central retinal artery occlusion can usually see movements and shapes but little detail. Over time and with proper treatment, 5 to 10% of patients will recover some vision that is useful to them; however, the majority of patients will recover some side vision but not central vision.

Thrombosis is the most likely cause of CRAO; thrombosis is the formation of an abnormal blood clot. The CRAO effectively blocks the main artery to the retina; the retina is the light-sensitive nerve layer in the eye. People suffering from a CRAO experience a painless but sudden loss of vision.

CRAO Treatment

Immediate treatment is essential for patients with central retinal artery occlusion. After about 90 minutes, irreversible retinal damage will occur. Even if immediate treatment is not secured, vision can still be saved within the first 24 hours after the symptoms are noticed. The immediate goal of emergency treatment is to bring normal blood flow back to the retina and surrounding area, and to preserve as much eyesight as possible.

Following emergency treatment, most patients should receive a thorough health examination to determine the cause of the CRAO.

Anyone who suffers from diabetes, is overweight, have high blood pressure, or is between the ages of 50 and 70 should be aware of the signs and symptoms of central retinal artery occlusion.