Eye Occlusions

Image of an occlusion causing redness in eyes.

An eye occlusion is a blockage in one of the arteries or veins supplying blood to the retina and/or optic nerve. These blockages can cause severe and sudden vision loss. Contact your eye care professional immediately if you experience sudden vision loss, and follow up right away with your family doctor. Eye occlusions often signal other serious health problems requiring immediate medical attention.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Occlusions

There are 4 main types of eye occlusions, categorized based on the vessels involved, their location within the eye, and the type of vision loss they cause. An eye care professional will perform a complete eye exam to determine the root problem:

  • Branch Retinal Artery Occlusion or “BRAO”— Characterized by a sudden loss of peripheral vision, and occasionally central vision, from a broken clot or plaque traveling from the carotid (in the neck) artery into the branch retinal artery. Rapid treatment (within 12-24 hours of the onset of symptoms) with glaucoma medicine can help. 80% of patients with a BRAO can recover up to 20/40 in visual acuity.
  • Branch retinal vein occlusion or “BRVO”— Involves distorted and diminished vision, peripheral vision loss, and blind spots in one eye. This type of occlusion usually occurs in people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Your eye care professional will diagnose the condition based on retinal bleeding along one of the retinal veins, which is detected during a fluorescein angiogram test. Laser and pharmaceutical treatments can help some patients recover a degree of their lost vision.
  • Central retinal artery occlusion or “CRAO”— Manifests as painless, yet extensive and sudden vision loss in one eye and can point toward serious narrowing of the carotid artery or complications of diabetes. Immediate, full medical and eye exams are necessary to address the root cause. Vision loss is often permanent, with only a few therapies offering limited success at restoring some vision. Treatments must be implemented within a very short time frame after the onset of symptoms to have a chance of success.
  • Central retinal vein occlusion or "CRVO"— Diabetes and high blood pressure are risk factors for CRVO, which can cause mild to severe vision loss. Laser and pharmaceutical treatments can stop the damage and prevent worsening vision if caught early.

Any sudden vision loss, whether painful or painless, requires immediate attention because prompt treatment offers better vision outcomes in the case of eye occlusions. Also remember to check in with your physician for diagnosis and treatment of other potentially serious eye occlusion risk factors.

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  • Dr. Joyce is the most compassionate, caring person I have ever met. She is very intelligent, explains the eye tests and results, and offers suggestions to keep my eyes healthy. I consider her a friend as well as a fabulous eye doctor.

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    - Steven C
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    - Stephanie B
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    - Beverly K
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    - Boyd D
  • Dr. Joyce is top notch and has all of the cutting-edge technology. I also bring my children to her. We used to see her when she was at Schwartz Eyecare in Newtown and we were thrilled when she opened her office in Richboro...even closer to us! You'll be well taken care of if you choose her as your ophthalmologist.

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  • of the best, most thorough, articulate, accessible doctors I’ve ever seen. Her office is packed full of state of the art cool eye tools that provide incredible insight (oops... pun actually works) and she explains so that this non-medical patient can understand. This exam was most comprehensive. One of my eye doctors is a friend and even when visiting him in Santa Monica office, the time Dr Joyce spent with me was comparable. I only wish she had more specialties (e.g. dermatology, podiatry). I’m a patient now so I feel safe. You better call for an appointment now lest she stops taking new patients. Thank you, Dr Joyce!

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  • Dr Joyce was extremely pleasant, informative, thorough and professional. She took the time to go over all of my test results and explain what they meant. She was able to identify some personal care items that I could do to improve my particular concern. I was very impressed with her personal approach to her practice and patients.

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  • This was my first time at Eyecare For You. The facility was very clean and the office staff pleasant. The young man who I was with in the beginning to do the initial check in process was very efficient, professional and it was very evident that he took his job seriously. I especially liked that he cleaned off each piece of equipment prior to my resting my chin and forehead on them. Dr Joyce was also very professional and personable. Her work ethic was spot on, and she explained each process very clearly and made sure I understood before she moved on to the next section. The equipment seemed to be the most current and I was overall very impressed with the care I received here. I will be returning.

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  • Excellent experience with Dr Joyce and others on the staff. No need to get records transferred from previous eye care center. Eyecare For You appears to have the latest hi-tech testing equipment and will determine the best option(s) to improve your vision to its maximum capability. I expect my new prescription glasses with anti-glare coating will minimize glare at night and should allow me to see better than ever. Cost was very reasonable. I have already recommended two friends to call for an appointment ASAP.

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  • Dr. Kathleen Joyce is absolutely amazing! I haven't seen her in over 2 years but she still made me feel like I just saw her last week. She pays attention to details and makes you excited to see her in the office! She really goes the extra mile

    - Cassi LP.
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