This on the retinal surface is a crude attempt at vascularizing ischemic tissue. Retinal neovascularization lacks the bifurcating pattern of . Poorly and hastily built, they bleed spontaneously or with minimal trauma. The blood pours into the retina and into the interface between retina and vitreous, where it attracts fibroglial elements which form fibrovascular stalks. The stalks induce vitreous contraction which pulls them farther away from the retina. Eventually the retina detaches. The combination of hemorrhage and retinal detachment spells blindness.
The common causes of retinal neovascularization on or near the optic disc are diabetes, retinal vein occlusion, and radiation. Neovascularization in the peripheral retina (out of view of the direct ophthalmoscope) is most commonly caused by sickle cell disease and retinopathy of prematurity.