Is Management of Central Retinal Artery Occlusion the Next Frontier in Cerebrovascular Diseases?

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2018 Oct;27(10):2781-2791. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2018.06.006. Epub 2018 Jul 27.


Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) is a medical emergency that, if not treated, may result in irreversible loss of vision. It continues to be an important cause for acute painless loss of vision. Amaurosis fugax or "transient CRAO" has long been considered an equivalent of transient cerebral ischemic event. Animal models, in addition to data from retrospective and randomized clinical studies, provide valuable insights into the time interval for irreversible retinal ischemia. Subset analyses from 2 large studies of patients with CRAO show benefit from treatment with thrombolysis within 6 hours from symptoms onset. Significant workflow improvements after the intra-arterial therapy trials for acute ischemic stroke have occurred world over in last 5 years. Patients with CRAO are uniquely suited to receive maximum benefits from the changes in workflow for treatment of patient's acute ischemic stroke. Just as in clinical triage of acute ischemic stroke, correct and timely diagnosis of patients with CRAO may help in preventing visual loss. The approach to acute ocular ischemia should mimic that used for acute brain ischemia. Comprehensive stroke centers would be ideal triage centers for these patients in view of availability of multidisciplinary participation from vascular neurology, neuroendovascular surgery, and ophthalmology. Time is Retina!

Keywords: Hyperacute stroke; central retinal artery occlusion; intra-arterial therapy; intravenous; thrombolysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amaurosis Fugax / diagnosis
  • Amaurosis Fugax / epidemiology
  • Amaurosis Fugax / physiopathology
  • Amaurosis Fugax / prevention & control*
  • Animals
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Comorbidity
  • Conservative Treatment / adverse effects
  • Conservative Treatment / methods*
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / diagnosis
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / epidemiology
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / physiopathology
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / adverse effects
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / methods*
  • Time-to-Treatment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Vision, Ocular*


  • Fibrinolytic Agents