Treatment of central retinal vein occlusion by radial optic neurotomy in 107 cases

H C Hasselbach, F Ruefer, N Feltgen, U Schneider, S Bopp, L L Hansen, H Hoerauf, U Bartz-Schmidt, J Roider
Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology 2007, 245 (8): 1145-56

BACKGROUND: To evaluate the potential role of radial optic neurotomy (RON), a new surgical technique has been recently proposed for treating central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). It is hypothesized that CRVO constitutes a neurovascular compartment syndrome at the site of the lamina cribrosa, which can be alleviated by performing a radial incision at the nasal part of the optic nerve head, relaxing the cribriform plate and the adjacent sclera.

METHODS: One hundred and seven patients were treated with RON for CRVO at five collaborating ophthalmologic centers. All patients were evaluated by a standardized protocol. For analysis of the angiographic and fundus findings, reference images were used. Intraoperative and postoperative complications were reviewed.

RESULTS: On 55 right and 52 left eyes of 107 patients (55.6% male, 44.4% female) with a median age of 68 years (range 21-91 years), RON was performed. The median follow-up time was 6 months (range 1-24 months). The median preoperative visual acuity (VA) was 0.05 (logMAR 1.3), increasing to a median postoperative VA of 0.08 (logMAR 1.1). Patients with an interval of more than 90 days between RON and onset of CRVO showed no significant change in VA at the 6-month follow-up. Severe peripapillary swelling of the optic nerve head prior to RON resulted in an average increase of 4.2 lines in VA at the 6-month follow-up. Angiographic findings of shunt vessels were seen in 18/30 cases after 12 months and were accompanied by an average improvement of VA of six lines. Visual field tests showed various defects in 86.8% of all cases. In one patient an iatrogenic injury of the central retinal artery occurred (0.9%).

CONCLUSION: Despite the potential risk of visual field defects, RON seems to be a quite safe procedure. The majority of patients showed rapid normalization of the morphologic fundus findings, with an improvement in VA uncommon for the natural history of CRVO. No significant change in VA was seen in patients with an interval of more than 90 days between the onset of CRVO and RON. A prospective study is warranted for further investigation.

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