Incidence of Total Blindness After Central Retinal Artery Occlusion With Ocular Neovascularization

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Journal of VitreoRetinal Diseases


Purpose: To determine the time-based incidence of total blindness after central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) with secondary ocular neovascularization (ONV). Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, electronic records were queried using ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes to identify patients with secondary ONV post-CRAO. Patients with possible alternative ONV etiologies, previous panretinal photocoagulation (PRP), and/or previous antivascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy were excluded. Clinical data included demographics, medical comorbidities, ONV manifestations, medical/surgical management, and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA). Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed with total blindness (defined as a BCVA of no light perception) as the outcome of interest. Results: Of 345 eyes with CRAO, 34 met the inclusion criteria with a mean (±SD) follow-up of 22.0 ± 26.2 months. ONV management included PRP (70.6%), glaucoma drainage implant surgery or transscleral cyclophotocoagulation (32.4%), and intravitreal anti-VEGF therapy (mean 2.8 ± 5.6 injections per patient). The cumulative incidence of total blindness was 49.4% (95% confidence interval, 27.2%-71.6%) at 24 months, with 53.3% of cases occurring within 4 months of ONV onset. Conclusions: Post-CRAO ONV is associated with a high risk for progression from severe vision loss to total blindness. Neovascular glaucoma can present up to 4 months after CRAO, challenging the paradigm of “30-day-glaucoma.” Routine gonioscopy should extend through this period, while glaucoma surgery can delay further vision loss. These findings can be used to counsel patients on the importance of follow-up adherence.