Thrombolytic therapy in central retinal artery occlusion: cutting edge therapy, standard of care therapy, or impractical therapy?

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2009 May;20(3):210-8. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0b013e328329b5d5.


Purpose of review: Numerous therapeutic options have been suggested for the treatment of central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) such as ocular massage, anterior chamber paracentesis, physical exercise, and medication-induced reduction of intraocular pressure. Because of the lack of a proven effective treatment for CRAO, there has been a strong effort to develop alternative therapies. Recently, thrombolytic therapy has been suggested as a viable therapy for CRAO. The aim of this review is to provide an update on the progress of thrombolytic therapy for CRAO.

Recent findings: Although there is no consensus on a standardized treatment regimen for CRAO, emerging evidence suggests that thrombolytic therapy may be effective if administered promptly. Despite the benefit of thrombolytic therapy, on the basis of the results of case reports and case series, randomized controlled studies are necessary to ultimately prove the effectiveness of the treatment.

Summary: Thrombolytic therapy has yet to be validated as an effective treatment of CRAO. The execution of randomized, controlled trials is greatly needed to establish whether thrombolytic therapy can be considered standard of care therapy for CRAO.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / diagnosis
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / drug therapy*
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Thrombolytic Therapy*
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use*


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator