Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) treatment
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The earlier CRVO is diagnosed and treated, the lower the risk of permanent structural damage to your eyes. Unfortunately, there is no cure for CRVO. But early treatment may:
Help your vision get better
Keep CRVO from getting worse
You and your doctor will work together to determine the treatment that’s right for you.
If you experience sudden loss of vision, it’s important to see a doctor right away and start treatment as soon as possible.
These treatments target one or more of the proteins that stimulate growth of the leaky vessels in the eye. These treatments have been shown to improve vision by reducing the growth of new blood vessels and decreasing leakage. Eye injections are generally very well tolerated, but side effects can include bloodshot eye, blurred vision, increased pressure inside the eye and others. An eye care specialist, such as an ophthalmologist or a retina specialist, can help determine if an anti-VEGF is right for you.
This approach stabilizes vision using a laser to stop leakage into the retina and macula. Laser therapy stabilizes vision and can prevent vision loss caused by CRVO. Safety issues include possible discomfort during the procedure and potential damage or scarring to the retina.
These drugs work by targeting different mechanisms of the disease: inflammation, or swelling and VEGF factors. They can be delivered by an injection into the eye but they may cause other eye complications, such as cataracts or an increase in intraocular pressure, which is a risk factor for glaucoma.
Description: A picture of a doctor explaining something to a patient. A small side box shows a patient with eyes squinting with an arrow to another picture of the same patient looking much happier with eyes wide open.
Narration: In terms of treatment, there is no way to open or reverse the vein blockage. Some patients, with time, will have a spontaneous improvement in vision. Regardless, treatment is usually required to treat the associated problems or complications of RVO including macular edema and angiogenesis.
Description: Three boxes are drawn to show the three treatment options. The first box shows a steroid being implanted into the eye. The second box shows an eye receiving laser treatment. The third box shows an eye receiving an eye injection.
Narration: There are currently three treatment options for RVO: steroid eye implants, laser photocoagulation and anti-VEGF treatment.
Description: A picture of a cross section of an eye showing the injection of steroids from a needle-like device.
Narration: Steroids called dexamethasone implants can reduce swelling in the eyes of people with CRVO, helping to lessen or prevent more damage to the macula.
Description: Two doctors in an operating room are about to perform a steroid implant into a patient lying on the operating room table.
Narration: These implants are administered under local anesthetic, using a small injection into the back of the eye.
Description: Picture of a female doctor using a machine to point a laser into the eye of a male patient. A zoomed in section shows the laser beam hitting a small leaky blood vessel.
Narration: In laser photocoagulation, leaky blood vessels affecting central vision are sealed using a laser. This slows the leakage of fluid, reducing the amount of fluid in the retina. Laser photocoagulation can be used to treat both types of RVO but has become less common with the advent of other treatments.
Description: A three-part picture is drawn. Part one is a picture of a needle aimed at a target with the word “VEGF” in the centre of the target; part two is a picture of a main blood vessel with some small new blood vessels forming and a STOP sign in the top corner; and part three is a picture of a doctor preparing to administer an injection into the eye of a patient.
Narration: Anti-VEGF medicine is a specialized medication for RVO that targets VEGF. It is designed to block the VEGF signals which lead to macular edema and angiogenesis. Injection of anti-VEGF medicine has been shown to restore vision in many patients with RVO. Eye injections are generally very well tolerated, but side effects can include local irritation, bleeding of the surface of the eye and, rarely, infection.
Description: A picture of a doctor talking to a patient and showing him his appointments on a calendar.
Narration: Patients with RVO will require many regularly-scheduled appointments with possible eye injections to achieve optimal results. It is important to try not to miss any appointments.