Chorioretinal Anastomosis for Central Retinal Vein Occlusion: A Review of Its Development, Technique, Complications, and Role in Management

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Treatments for central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) have improved dramatically with the advent of intravitreal agents aimed at blocking the effects of the dominant hypoxia-induced upreglulated cytokine, which is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This cytokine breaks down the capillary endothelial barriers and is a major component of the macular edema in this condition. These treatments although impressive only address some of the sequelae of CRVO and have no effect on the underlying cause which is an obstruction to venous outflow leading to retinal blood flow stagnation and an elevation of the retinal central venous pressure (CVP). The creation of a laser-induced chorioretinal anastomosis (L-CRA) between the obstructed high pressure retinal venous circulation and the unobstructed low pressure choroidal venous circulation is a means addressing the causal pathology. The L-CRA will help lower the elevated CVP, which has been up until now an unaddressed component of the macular edema in this condition.This article reviews the preclinical and clinical development of the L-CRA and the results of the studies into its effect on the natural history of CRVO. It now can be used in combination with existing anti-VEGF treatments with the intravitreal agents addressing the component of the CRVO-induced macular edema due to the cytokine dysregulation, and the L-CRA addressing the component due to the elevated CVP and retinal venous stagnation. Improvements in laser technology have led to higher success rates in L-CRA creation and potential complications are now minimized and better controlled. The combination of L-CRA with intravitreal anti-VEGF agents offers the potential of a permanent cure with a significant reduction in the burden of therapy and improved visual outcomes in this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-249
Number of pages11
JournalAsia-Pacific journal of ophthalmology (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


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