Retinal Vascular Diseases


Retinal vascular diseases stem from localized structural changes in the blood vessels and capillaries in the eye. The health of the walls of small vessels and capillaries in the eye and retina depends on the quality as well as the quantity of the blood supply. Damage can result in a reduction in the blood flow which can cause irreversible changes to the peripheral retina that may not have any symptoms at all. If this damage happens centrally, severe and sometimes irreversible vision loss can arise.

Retinal vascular diseases are a leading cause of blindness in the Western world and require prompt diagnosis and treatment. Annual or bi-annual exams for healthy adults screen for early warning signs of these issues. Common causes of retinal vascular disease that cause vision loss include diabetic retinopathy (proliferative diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema), hypertensive retinopathy, hypercholesterolemia and clotting disorders (vein and artery occlusions), macular degeneration (both “wet” or neovascular, and dry). The top 3 retinal vascular diseases leading to severe sight impairment are wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusion.



  1. Diabetes is a systemic disease that affects every blood vessel in the body. The eye is the only place these blood vessels can be directly observed, imaged, and evaluated. Vision complications can include diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. Diabetes also increases your risk of developing other ocular diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma that can lead to vision loss and blindness if left untreated. Annual photographic screening for diabetic patients along with testing the peripheral vision, checking eye pressure, and examining the retina and optic nerve using specialized equipment and diagnostic techniques is essential for early detection of issues and covered by Alberta Health Care. Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in North America. If you are a diabetic and it’s been a year since your last eye exam, call us today for an appointment.
  2. Patients with retinal Artery or Vein Occlusion typically present with painless loss of peripheral or central vision. Prompt evaluation, diagnosis, and in some instances referral is necessary for optimal outcomes. These typically happen because of some underlying systemic health issues. If there is no history of systemic issues, Dr. Louie and Dr. Larson will work with your primary care physician, and sometimes specialists, to help prevent further damage or new issues.
  3. Untreated high blood pressure not only affects the heart and kidney, it can also compromise your eyesight leading to hypertensive retinopathy. The retina is the area in the back of the eye where images focus, and hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina leading to vision loss. Uncontrolled hypertension is a leading cause of stroke. People experiencing a stroke may have changes in vision such as uncontrollable eye movements, double vision, blurred vision, or loss of vision.

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West Edmonton Vision Clinic

Visit our vision clinic in central West Edmonton for comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, glasses, and more. Louie Eyecare Centre is dedicated to providing the highest quality optometric services and products to our patients. Our team of experienced optometrists is here to help you with all of your eye care needs. Schedule an appointment today!

Clinic Hours

Monday Closed
Tuesday 9:00-5:00
Wednesday 9:00-5:00
Thursday 9:00-5:00
Friday 9:00-5:00
Saturday 9:00-2:00
Closed Sunday / Holidays


Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, there are cosmetic contact lenses available for people who wish to change or enhance the appearance of their eyes. These lenses come in various colours and designs, allowing you to alter your eye colour or create special effects. Cosmetic contact lenses are available both with and without vision correction. However, it’s crucial to obtain these lenses from a reputable source and with a prescription from an eye care professional. Wearing non-prescription cosmetic lenses without proper guidance can lead to eye discomfort, infections, or even depriving the cornea of necessary oxygen to function which can lead to serious health and vision issues.

Allergies can cause eye irritation and discomfort, making wearing contact lenses challenging for some individuals. However, certain types of contact lenses, such as daily disposables or lenses made from specific materials, might be more suitable for allergy sufferers. Consult your optometrist to discuss your allergy symptoms and determine the most appropriate contact lens options or if prescription allergy eye drops are recommended. Proper lens care, including regular cleaning and avoiding allergens that exacerbate symptoms, is essential to manage allergies while wearing contact lenses.

Contact lenses can exacerbate symptoms in individuals with dry eyes. However, some contact lens options are designed to alleviate discomfort for those with dry eyes. Specialized lenses, such as those with high moisture content or designed for extended wear, might be suitable. Your optometrist can recommend specific contact lens types or prescribe lubricating eye drops to help manage dry eye symptoms while wearing lenses. It’s essential to discuss your dry eye condition with your eye care professional before starting or continuing contact lens wear to ensure the best possible comfort and eye health.

If a contact lens feels stuck in your eye, try not to panic. Firstly, wash your hands thoroughly and use lubricating eye drops approved for contact lens wear to moisten your eye. Gently massage your upper eyelid while looking in the direction of the affected eye to help dislodge the lens. If the lens remains stuck, avoid excessive rubbing, as this can cause irritation. Try blinking or using rewetting drops to see if the lens moves. If unsuccessful, seek immediate assistance from an eye care professional to safely and effectively remove the contact lens.

While contact lenses are safe when used properly, there are risks associated with their wear. These risks include eye infections, corneal ulcers, allergic reactions, dry eyes, and discomfort. Improper hygiene, extended wear, sleeping with lenses on, and swimming or showering with lenses can increase the likelihood of these complications. It’s crucial to follow your optometrist’s guidelines, practice good hygiene, and adhere to wearing schedules to minimize the risks associated with contact lens wear. Immediate consultation with an eye care professional is necessary if you experience any discomfort, redness, or vision changes while wearing contact lenses.

It’s highly advisable to avoid wearing contact lenses while swimming or showering. Water, including tap water, pools, hot tubs, lakes, and oceans, contains microorganisms that can adhere to your lenses and cause eye infections. These microorganisms can lead to severe eye conditions, such as bacterial or fungal keratitis, which can be painful and sight-threatening. Always remove your contact lenses before any water activities to prevent potential eye infections and complications.