When this happens in the eye, it can affect a small branch of the arteries in the retina. This results in loss of a small part of the vision. If the clot affects the main artery going to the eye then the entire field of vision can be lost. These are called retinal artery occlusions.
The same risk factors for heart attack and stroke are risk factors for retinal artery occlusions. These include cholesterol plaques in the arteries, hypertension and certain types of inflammation in the blood. Often the plaques come from the blood vessels in the neck. These are the same plaques that cause strokes. They can be diagnosed with an ultrasound.
Sometimes there is a partial clot of the artery causing a loss of vision that returns after a few minutes. If you experience this you should seek immediate medical care. Unfortunately, the blood clots occur without any warning. Once the vision is lost from an artery blockage, it does not usually return.
The other type of clot in the eye affects the veins of the retina. These clots occur more slowly, but can still have devastating effects on vision. They can affect part or all of the vision. They are often caused by hypertension, diabetes, smoking, glaucoma or problems with normal blood clotting. It is important to not smoke and to make sure any of these conditions are under control.
When the retinal arteries are blocked the retina quickly dies and cannot be recovered. When the retinal veins are blocked the retina becomes swollen and inflammed. In some cases this inflammation ans swelling can be treated and the retinal function restored. Treatment can range from eye drops to laser to injections of medicine into the eye to reverse the damage.
As with most diseases the best treatment is prevention. Avoiding smoking, controlling diabetes and hypertension and having regular eye exams is key to reducing the risk of either type of blood clot in the eye.
Continue to live strong and live healthy, have regular check ups and enjoy a vision of health.