Purpose: To retrospectively report the outcomes of patients presenting to our facility with central retinal artery occlusion and receiving therapy with hyperbaric oxygen (HBO).
Methods: This was a retrospective, chart review at a single hospital center. Patients with diagnosed central retinal artery occlusion were treated with HBO twice daily for 5 days during their inpatient stay for a total of 10 HBO treatments. Main outcome was change from the documented presenting best-corrected visual acuity to discharge best-corrected visual acuity. Thirty-nine patients with central retinal artery occlusion were included in the analysis during a 30-month period.
Results: Twenty-eight of 39 patients (72%) had some improvement in acuity. There was a mean of 5.05 lines of improvement using a modified Snellen chart after completing their HBO treatment course. Patients treated within 12 hours of symptom onset showed the greatest improvement in their visual acuity (6.11 mean lines of improvement). Complications of therapy included middle ear barotrauma (10/39) and confinement anxiety (1/39) and did not interfere with the therapy regimen or hospital course.
Conclusion: This retrospective case series supports the use of emergent HBO therapy as a viable treatment option for patients with central retinal artery occlusion. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was safely administered and well tolerated.