Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) is defined as the focal occlusion of a first or second-order branch of retinal vein, which occurs most frequently at an arteriovenous (AV) crossing. Direct ophthalmoscopy, color fundus photography, and fluorescein angiography facilitate observation of AV crossings parallel to the retinal plane. Optical coherence tomography (OCT), with its high-depth resolution, enables observation of retinal lesions perpendicular to the retinal plane. OCT angiography (OCTA) provides depth-resolved images of the retinal vasculature by segmenting three-dimensional data. In this review, we discuss novel findings related to affected AV crossings associated with BRVO obtained via OCT and OCTA. The high-depth resolution of OCT or OCTA is useful for observation of the narrowed vein and determination of the vessel position of the affected AV crossing. Studies using OCT and OCTA have shown that BRVO caused by a venous overcrossing is more prevalent than previously reported, and that venous narrowing was significantly greater in instances caused by a venous overcrossing than in those caused by an arterial overcrossing. Moreover, OCTA also revealed that the retinal nonperfusion area size was larger in eyes with BRVO caused by a venous overcrossing than in those with BRVO caused by an arterial overcrossing. This contrasts with earlier findings obtained by conventional imaging modalities predating OCT, which showed that an arterial overcrossing was more common than a venous overcrossing at the causative venous occlusion site in eyes with BRVO. This review discusses these findings and their significance in the study of AV crossing associated with BRVO.
Keywords: Arteriovenous crossing; Branch retinal vein occlusion; Optical coherence tomography; Optical coherence tomography angiography; Venous overcrossing.