4 Things You Need To Know About Retinal Macroaneurysms

High blood pressure can damage the veins and arteries throughout your body, including inside your eyes. High blood pressure can make the artery in your retinas balloon outwards, and this stretching of the walls of your artery weakens it. The artery may leak blood into the eye, and in severe cases, the artery may burst. As the retina is essential for sight, this situation is very dangerous. Here are four things you need to know about retinal macroaneurysms.  

What are the signs of retinal macroaneurysms?

Often, retinal macroaneurysms are asymptomatic and your optometrist may notice your bulging artery during your routine eye exam. If the artery starts to bleed or bursts, you may notice visual symptoms like blurred vision or sudden vision loss. If you notice any changes in your vision, you need to see your optometrist right away.

What causes them?

Usually, retinal macroaneurysms are caused by high blood pressure, so if you suffer from high blood pressure, work with your doctor to get it under control. Other possible causes include related conditions like arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arterial walls) and abnormal lipid levels (high cholesterol). Aging can also play a role, as the walls of your arteries get less elastic as you get older.

Can they be treated?

If your artery isn't leaking and hasn't burst, your optometrist may recommend observation. You will need to get risk factors like high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis under control as well. Most retinal macroaneurysms don't require treatment, so your optometrist will wait to see if the condition gets worse before risking treatment. 

If your artery bursts, your optometrist can perform a vitrectomy to remove the blood. This procedure involves drawing out the vitreous, the filling within your eye, with a needle. Lasers can also be used to seal the artery and stop the bleeding.

What is the prognosis?

Surprisingly, the prognosis for this serious eye problem is considered excellent. In fact, most of these lesions close by themselves, and sufferers will eventually regain normal or near-normal vision. 

If your artery bursts, you may develop complications which can affect your prognosis. Retinal macroaneurysms can lead to problems like vitreous hemorrhage (bleeding inside the eye), retinal detachment, or macular holes, and all of these problems can lead to vision loss. If you suffer from complications, your visual prognosis may be poor. 

Retinal macroaneurysms can threaten your vision, and even scarier, they may not cause symptoms. This is why it's important to see your optometrist regularly, even if your vision is good and you don't need to get glasses. Contact a company like Ashworth Vision Clinic for more information.