Retinal vein thrombosis: pathogenesis and management

J Thromb Haemost. 2010 Sep;8(9):1886-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1538-7836.2010.03909.x.


Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is the most common retinal vascular disease after diabetic retinopathy. Owing to its multifactorial nature, however, management of this condition remains a challenge. Of the two main types of RVO, branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) is more prevalent than central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). Most patients develop the disease at an elderly age, and more than half of them have associated systemic disorders (e.g. hypertension, hyperlipidemia and/or diabetes mellitus). There is no evidence to suggest routine testing for heritable thrombophilias in patients with RVO. The main cause of the visual impairment is macular edema, while neovascularization of the retina and optic disc are the most serious complications leading to vitreous hemorrhage, retinal detachment and neovascular glaucoma. Macular grid laser photocoagulation is an effective treatment for macular edema in patients with BRVO and a visual acuity of 20/40 or less. Other treatment options for reducing the edema are intravitreal steroids, anti-VEGF drugs and vitrectomy. The recently introduced intravitreal application of steroids and anti-VEGF drugs may prove to be a better approach for improving visual acuity. Finally, scatter panretinal laserphotocoagulation can effectively treat neovascularization and its secondary complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Laser Coagulation / methods*
  • Light
  • Macular Edema / therapy
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures
  • Prognosis
  • Retinal Vein / pathology*
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnosis*
  • Venous Thrombosis / therapy*
  • Vision, Ocular


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A