There are two types of retinal vein occlusions (RVO), branch retinal vein occlusions (BRVO) and central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). In both of these scenarios, the central vein that drains blood from the retina becomes occluded partially (as in the case of BRVO) or completely (as in the case of CRVO).
The mainstay of treatment for either has been treatment with an argon laser. The idea is to limit the macular swelling that commonly develops after an occlusion.
In the last few months, several new therapies have been either introduced or approved for treatment.
The first, and most exciting, is a steroid implant that releases the drug for a known time period. After releasing the drug, the implant dissolves. This novel drug delivery system is marketed by Allergan Pharmaceuticals. The delivery system, Ozurdex, was recently approved by the FDA for treatment of RVO.
Several new studies have also indicated early success of Lucentis and Avastin when directly injected into the eye. The medications are presently used for wet macular degeneration and a few other “off-label” indications. The results are quite impressive.
The idea of all of these treatments is to reduce the amount of macular swelling. The more traditional treatment of laser has been moderately successful.
I have had great success with the “intravitreal” injections of steroids as well as the Lucentis and Avastin.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retinal Specialist