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.

Book Your Next Eye Exam!

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

Seniors can maintain good eye health by eating a healthy diet, wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes from UV rays, and avoiding smoking. They should also be vigilant about any changes in their vision and seek medical attention promptly if they experience any concerns.

If an eye condition is detected, the optometrist will discuss and educate the patient in a way that is easy to understand. If the condition requires treatment, they will discuss risks and benefits, and initiate treatment. If surgical intervention is required they will refer the senior to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment.

Seniors should make a list of any concerns or symptoms they are experiencing and bring it to their appointment. They should also bring any eyewear they are using or would like to ask questions about, as well as a list of any current medications.

An eye exam for seniors typically takes about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the complexity of the exam.

Some optometrists offer tele-optometry services, which allow seniors to have an eye exam from the comfort of their own home using video conferencing technology.

Alberta Health Care covers eye exams for seniors aged 65 and older once every 12 months.