Purpose: Retinal vascular occlusive disease is the second leading cause of permanent retinal blindness. The etiology of central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) is not well understood. The anatomy of the optic disk including the cribriform plate and scleral ring may contribute to the development of retinal vaso-oclussive diseases. Neurovascular compression within the confined space at this location may play a pathoetiologic role in CRVO. The authors performed radial optic neurotomy in patients with CRVO to relax this space and relieve pressure on the central retinal vein.
Methods: Radial optic neurotomy (RON) was performed on 11 consecutive patients with severe, hemorrhagic CRVO with visual acuities of 20/400 or less. A microvitreoretinal blade was used to relax the scleral ring, cribriform plate, and adjacent sclera of the optic disk. Reperfusion of the retina was achieved via decompressing the central retinal vein.
Results: Radial optic neurotomy was performed successfully in all 11 patients. There were no complications noted with this procedure. All patients had clinical improvement as determined by fundus examination, photography, and fluorescein angiography. Postoperative visual acuities were equal or improved in 82% of patients. Eight of the patients (73%) had rapid improvement of visual acuity with an average gain of five lines of vision.
Conclusions: Surgical decompression of CRVO via RON is a technically feasible and initially safe procedure that is associated with rapid reperfusion of the retina. Resolution of the intraretinal hemorrhage, edema, and ischemia may improve the visual prognosis in patients with this common retinal disorder.