Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Retinal Vein Occlusion Anatomy

To better understand central retinal vein occlusion, it helps to understand the anatomy of the eye.

Oxygen-rich blood is supplied to the cells in the retina via the central retinal artery. The central retinal vein allows the blood to return to the heart. The retina is a thin structure that lines the back of the eye. It contains specialized cells, called rods and cones. These specialized cells sense color, and distinguish light from dark. This information is sent to the brain via the optic nerve.

Other structures of the eye include:

  • Bony orbit and muscles: the bone and muscles around the eye that protect it and allow it to move
  • Conjunctiva: the thin, clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye, as well as the inside surface of the eyelids
  • Sclera: the strong, white, outer layer of the globe
  • Cornea: the clear, firm cap that protects the pupil and the iris
  • Pupil: the opening that allows light to pass to the lens
  • Iris: the colored part of the eye that controls the size of the pupil
  • Lens: the clear, soft disc that receives light through the pupil and focuses images on the retina
  • Ciliary body: contains muscles that control the shape of the lens.
  • Vitreous: the clear gel inside the globe that helps to maintain the shape of the eye
  • Choroid: the thin layer that contains blood vessels that supply the parts of the eye
  • Retina: The retina is to the eye what film is to a camera. It is a thin membrane in the back of the eye that contains the rod and cone cells for vision. After receiving light, the retina sends messages to the brain though the optic nerve. This information is processed into images by the brain.

Last Updated: Nov 7, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Retinal Vein Occlusion References
  1. Browning DJ, Fraser CM. Retinal vein occlusions in patients taking warfarin. Ophthalmology. 2004 Jun;111(6):1196-200. [15177971]
  2. Fegan CD. Central retinal vein occlusion and thrombophilia. Eye. 2002 Jan;16(1):98-106. [11913903]
  3. Hayreh SS. Management of central retinal vein occlusion. Ophthalmologica. 2003 May-Jun;217(3):167-88. [12660480]
  4. Sharma A, D'Amico DJ. Medical and surgical management of central retinal vein occlusion. Int Ophthalmol Clin. 2004 Winter;44(1):1-16. [14704516]
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