Evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of neovascular glaucoma

J A Sivak-Callcott, D M O'Day, J D Gass, J C Tsai
Ophthalmology 2001, 108 (10): 1767-76; quiz1777, 1800

PURPOSE: To succinctly update information on the pathogenesis, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of neovascular glaucoma based on a systematic review of available literature and to provide summary recommendations rated for their importance to clinical outcome.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Neovascular glaucoma is a devastating ocular disease that often results in loss of vision. The current standard of care includes retinal ablation and control of increased intraocular pressure with medical and surgical therapy. LITERATURE REVIEW METHODOLOGY: The authors conducted a MEDLINE literature search of articles published in English from 1966 to the present. Each article reviewed was rated as to the strength of evidence it provided, and summary ratings for the strength of evidence supporting clinical recommendations were generated.

RESULTS: Level A (most important to patient outcome) recommendations for the diagnosis of neovascular glaucoma include a high index of suspicion, a full ocular examination including undilated gonioscopy, and pupil examination. In regard to treatment, Level A recommendations include treatment of the underlying disease origin, complete panretinal photocoagulation (if retinal ischemia is a factor), and medical control of both elevated intraocular pressure and inflammation. Level B recommendations (moderately important to patient outcome) encompass glaucoma surgery to control intraocular pressure when medical therapy is unsuccessful, although the ideal surgical procedure is unknown. Currently, trabeculectomy with antimetabolite therapy, aqueous shunt implants, and diode laser cyclophotocoagulation are the preferred surgical treatment options.

CONCLUSIONS: The current literature on neovascular glaucoma has few articles that provide strong evidence in support of therapy recommendations (level I). Future research studies are needed to address areas in which the current evidence is moderately strong (level II) or weak, consisting only of a consensus of expert opinion (level III). Whenever practicable, these studies should be prospective, randomized clinical trials.

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