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Central Retinal Artery Occlusion (CRAO)

A central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) is a medical condition that occurs when the central artery that supplies blood to the retina is blocked. The retina is a critical component of the eye that receives light and sends signals to the brain to form images. A blockage in the central artery can cause a sudden and severe loss of vision in the affected eye.

The ocular findings of patients with a CRAO can vary depending on the extent and location of the blockage. However, some common findings include:

  • Sudden loss of vision: Patients with a CRAO often experience an immediate and complete loss of vision in the affected eye. The visual loss may be described as a curtain coming down or a sudden blacking out of vision.
  • Retinal edema: Retinal edema or swelling of the retina is a common finding in patients with a CRAO. This can cause the retina to appear thicker and hazy and may be visible during an eye examination.
  • Cherry red spot: A classic finding in patients with a CRAO is a cherry red spot in the macula, which is the central part of the retina. The red spot is caused by the lack of blood flow to the surrounding tissue and can be observed during an eye exam.
  • Box-carring: The arteries within the retina can appear like they are segmented or “boxed-off” in appearance due to the reduced blood flow. This is known as box-carring and is a classic sign of CRAO.

It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden vision loss or other ocular symptoms.