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Intravitreal steroids versus observation for macular edema secondary to central retinal vein occlusion.

BACKGROUND: Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) is a common retinal vascular abnormality associated with conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma, and a wide variety of hematologic disorders. Macular edema (ME) represents an important vision-threatening complication of CRVO. There is no proven treatment; laser photocoagulation is not effective in treating cystoid macular edema secondary to CRVO. Intravitreal steroids, such as triamcinolone acetonide, have been utilized to treat macular edema stemming from a variety of etiologies and may represent a treatment option for CRVO-ME.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this review was to explore the effectiveness and safety of intravitreal steroids in the treatment of CRVO-ME.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library Issue 4, 2008), MEDLINE (January 1950 to November 2008) and EMBASE (January 1980 to November 2008). There were no language or date restrictions in the search for trials. The electronic databases were last searched on 5 November 2008. For all included primary studies, we used The Science Citation Index and manually reviewed reference lists to identify other possible relevant trials. We contacted researchers in the field, currently working on a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on this topic (The Standard Care versus Corticosteroid for Retinal Vein Occlusion - SCORE study), for information on additional current, past, or unpublished trials.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We considered RCTs that compared intravitreal steroids of any dosage/duration to observation in the treatment of CRVO-ME for inclusion in this review. We focused on studies that included individuals of any age or gender with unilateral or bilateral disease, with a minimum of six months follow up. Secondarily we considered non-randomized studies with the same criteria for description of evidence, however we did not conduct a separate electronic search for finding all non-randomized studies.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We found no RCTs that met the inclusion criteria after independent and duplicate review of the search results.

MAIN RESULTS: We found no relevant RCTs and therefore performed no meta-analysis. Evidence from non-randomized studies is reported in this review.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is inadequate evidence for the use of intravitreal steroids for CRVO-ME due to a paucity of RCTs and well-designed observational studies on the topic; therefore, it is still an experimental procedure.

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