What are the causes and treatments for retinal angiomas?

Symptom Database

Retinal angiomas, also known as eye angiomas or vascular tumors, are a type of retinal tumor that can cause various retinal vascular anomalies. These ocular angiomas can lead to vision problems and require prompt diagnosis and treatment. In this article, we will explore the causes and treatments for retinal angiomas, as well as the symptoms and diagnosis of this condition.

Retinal Angioma Symptoms

Retinal angiomas can present with a range of symptoms, depending on their size and location. Some common symptoms include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Floaters or spots in the field of vision
  • Decreased visual acuity
  • Visual field defects
  • Abnormal blood vessels in the retina

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist for a thorough examination and proper diagnosis.

Retinal Angioma Causes

The exact cause of retinal angiomas is not fully understood. However, it is believed that these tumors develop due to genetic mutations or abnormalities in the blood vessels of the retina. In some cases, retinal angiomas may be associated with a genetic condition called von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease, which predisposes individuals to the development of tumors in various organs, including the eyes.

Retinal Angioma Diagnosis

To diagnose retinal angiomas, an ophthalmologist will perform a comprehensive eye examination, which may include the following:

  • Visual acuity test: This test measures how well you can see at various distances.
  • Retinal examination: The ophthalmologist will examine the retina using specialized instruments to look for any abnormalities, such as abnormal blood vessels or tumors.
  • Fluorescein angiography: This test involves injecting a dye into a vein in your arm and taking photographs of the retina as the dye circulates. It helps identify any abnormal blood vessels or leakage.
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT): This imaging test provides detailed cross-sectional images of the retina, allowing the ophthalmologist to assess the thickness and integrity of the retinal layers.

Based on the findings of these tests, the ophthalmologist can confirm the presence of retinal angiomas and determine the appropriate treatment approach.

Retinal Angioma Treatment

The treatment for retinal angiomas depends on various factors, including the size, location, and symptoms associated with the tumor. Some treatment options include:


If the retinal angioma is small and not causing any significant vision problems, the ophthalmologist may choose to monitor it closely without immediate intervention. Regular eye examinations will be scheduled to monitor any changes in the tumor’s size or symptoms.

Laser Photocoagulation

Laser photocoagulation is a procedure that uses a laser to destroy abnormal blood vessels or seal leaking vessels in the retina. This treatment can help reduce the risk of vision loss and manage symptoms associated with retinal angiomas.


Cryotherapy involves freezing the abnormal blood vessels in the retina using extreme cold. This treatment can be effective in destroying the tumor and preventing further growth or leakage.

Anti-VEGF Injections

Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) injections are a relatively new treatment option for retinal angiomas. These injections help block the growth of abnormal blood vessels and reduce leakage, thereby preserving vision and managing symptoms.

Surgical Removal

In some cases, surgical removal of the retinal angioma may be necessary, especially if it is large or causing significant vision problems. The ophthalmologist will discuss the risks and benefits of surgery and determine the most appropriate approach.


Retinal angiomas are vascular tumors that can cause retinal vascular anomalies and vision problems. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential to manage this condition effectively. If you experience any symptoms associated with retinal angiomas, it is crucial to consult an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye examination. With advancements in treatment options, many individuals with retinal angiomas can preserve their vision and lead fulfilling lives.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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