Treatment of retinal artery occlusion using transluminal Nd:YAG laser: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2017 Oct;255(10):1869-1877. doi: 10.1007/s00417-017-3777-8. Epub 2017 Aug 19.


Aims: To review clinical experience, efficacy, and safety of transluminal Nd:YAG laser embolectomy/embolysis (TYE) for retinal artery occlusion.

Methods: Electronic databases were searched for all published clinical studies and case-reports reporting on TYE in central (CRAO) or branch (BRAO) retinal artery occlusion. Individual patient data was evaluated in a weighted pooled analysis.

Results: Sixty-one cases were reported, 47 with BRAO and 14 with CRAO. Visual acuity (VA) at onset averaged 20/252 (1.1 LogMAR) and improved following the procedure to 20/47 (0.37 LogMAR) at first follow-up (avg. 6 days, P < 0.001) and to 20/30 (0.18 LogMAR) at last reported follow-up (avg. 1.1 years, P = 0.02). Patients with worse VA (<20/200) improved further (12 vs. three lines, P < 0.001). VA was not improved when using higher pulse energies (≥ 2.4 mJ) which were associated with more vitrectomies. In a weighted analysis vitreous/sub-retinal hemorrhage was estimated to occur in 54% of cases and required vitrectomy in 18% of cases.

Conclusions: TYE was followed by significant visual improvement in the vast majority of cases, including CRAO, and was frequently associated with vitreous hemorrhage. Patients with poor visual acuity appear to benefit further and higher pulse energies may be detrimental. Lack of randomization and intrinsic biases prevent any definite conclusions regarding the benefits and further research is warranted.

Keywords: BRAO; CRAO; Embolectomy; Embolysis; Nd:YAG laser; Retinal artery occlusion.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use*
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / surgery*