There is no proven treatment for vision loss that involves the whole eye, unless it is caused by another illness that can be treated.
Several treatments may be tried. These treatments must be given within 2 - 4 hours after symptoms begin to be helpful. However, the benefit of these treatments has never been proven, and they are rarely used.
Breathing in (inhaling) a carbon dioxide-oxygen mixture. This treatment causes the arteries of the retina to widen (dilate).
Massage of the eye
The clot-busting drug, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)
The health care provider should look for the cause of the blockage. Blockages may be signs of a life-threatening medical problem.
People with blockages of the retinal artery may not get their vision back.
Partial or complete loss of vision in the affected eye
Stroke (due to the same factors that contribute to retinal artery occlusion, not due to the occlusion itself)
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have sudden blurring or vision loss.
Measures used to prevent other blood vessel (vascular) diseases, such as coronary artery disease, may decrease the risk of retinal artery occlusion. These include:
Eating a low-fat diet
Losing weight if you are overweight
Sometimes blood thinners may be used to prevent the artery from becoming blocked again. Aspirin or other anti-clotting drugs are used if the problem is in the carotid arteries. Warfarin or other more potent blood thinners are used if the problem is in the heart.
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Reiss GR, Sipperley JO, Gaitan JR. Glaucoma associated with retinal disorders and retinal surgery. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Clinical Ophthalmology. 2013 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:vol 3; chap 54E.
Duker JS. Retinal arterial occlusion. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. Maryland Heights, MO: Mosby Elsevier;2008:chap 6.16.
Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 431.
Crouch ER, Crouch ER, Grant TR. Ophthalmology. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 41.
Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.