Interventions for acute non-arteritic central retinal artery occlusion

John C. Lin, Sophia Song, Sueko M. Ng, Ingrid U. Scott, Paul B. Greenberg

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Background: Acute non-arteritic central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) occurs as a sudden interruption of the blood supply to the retina and typically results in severe loss of vision in the affected eye. Although many therapeutic interventions have been proposed, there is no generally agreed upon treatment regimen. Objectives: To assess the effects of treatments for acute non-arteritic CRAO. Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (which contains the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Trials Register) (2022, Issue 2); Ovid MEDLINE;; PubMed; Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature Database (LILACS);; and the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). We did not use any date or language restrictions in the electronic search for trials. We last searched the electronic databases on 15 February 2022. Selection criteria: We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing any interventions with another treatment in participants with acute non-arteritic CRAO in one or both eyes. Data collection and analysis: We used standard Cochrane methodology and graded the certainty of the body of evidence for primary (mean change in best-corrected visual acuity [BCVA]) and secondary (quality of life and adverse events) outcomes using the GRADE classification. Main results: We included six RCTs with 223 total participants with acute non-arteritic CRAO; the studies ranged in size from 10 to 84 participants. The included studies varied geographically: one in Australia, one in Austria and Germany, two in China, one in Germany, and one in Italy. We were unable to conduct any meta-analyses due to study heterogeneity. None of the included studies compared the same pair of interventions: 1) tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) versus intravenous saline; 2) t-PA versus isovolemic hemodilution, eyeball massage, intraocular pressure reduction, and anticoagulation; 3) nitroglycerin, methazolamide, mecobalamin tablets, vitamin B1 and B12 injections, puerarin and compound anisodine (also known as 654-2) along with oxygen inhalation, eyeball massage, tube expansion, and anticoagulation compared with and without intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA); 4) transcorneal electrical stimulation (TES) with 0 mA versus with 66% of the participant’s individual electrical phosphene threshold (EPT) at 20 Hz (66%) versus with 150% of the participant’s individual EPT (150%) at 20 Hz; 5) ophthalmic artery branch retrograde thrombolysis versus superselective ophthalmic artery thrombolysis; and 6) pentoxifylline versus placebo. There was no evidence of an important difference in visual acuity between participants treated with t-PA versus intravenous saline (mean difference [MD] at 1 month −0.15 logMAR, 95% confidence interval [CI] −0.48 to 0.18; 1 study, 16 participants; low certainty evidence); t-PA versus isovolemic hemodilution, eyeball massage, intraocular pressure reduction, and anticoagulation (MD at 1 month −0.00 logMAR, 95% CI −0.24 to 0.23; 1 study, 82 participants; low certainty evidence); and TES with 0 mA versus TES with 66% of EPT at 20 Hz versus TES with 150% of EPT at 20 Hz. Participants treated with t-PA experienced higher rates of serious adverse effects. The other three comparisons did not report statistically significant differences. Other studies reported no data on secondary outcomes (quality of life or adverse events). Authors' conclusions: The current research suggests that proposed interventions for acute non-arteritic CRAO may not be better than observation or treatments of any kind such as eyeball massage, oxygen inhalation, tube expansion, and anticoagulation, but the evidence is uncertain. Large, well-designed RCTs are necessary to determine the most effective treatment for acute non-arteritic CRAO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberCD001989
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 30 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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