The management of retinal vein occlusion: is interventional ophthalmology the way forward?

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Retinal vein occlusions (RVO) are the second commonest sight threatening vascular disorder. Despite its frequency treatments for RVO are unsatisfactory and include several that have not been tested by large, well designed, prospective, randomised controlled trials. There is also the lack of long term follow up in many of the available small uncontrolled studies, and the timings of interventions are haphazard. This review aims to evaluate the current knowledge relating to the pathogenesis, suggested treatments for the different types of RVO, and their complications. Isovolaemic haemodilution is of limited benefit and should be avoided in patients with concurrent cardiovascular, renal, or pulmonary morbidity. Evidence to date does not support any therapeutic benefit from radial optic neurotomy, optic nerve decompression, or arteriovenous crossing sheathotomy on its own. Vitrectomy combined with intravenous thrombolysis may offer promise for central RVO. Similarly, vitrectomy combined with arteriovenous sheathotomy intravenous tissue plasminogen activator may offer benefits for branch RVO. RVOs occur at significantly high frequency to allow future prospective randomised controlled studies to be conducted to evaluate the role of different therapeutic modalities singly or in combination.

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