Laser-induced chorioretinal venous anastomosis for nonischemic central retinal vein occlusion: evaluation of the complications and their risk factors

Am J Ophthalmol. 1998 Aug;126(2):219-29. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(98)00156-1.


Purpose: To evaluate the complications of laser-induced chorioretinal venous anastomosis in nonischemic central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) and to identify the associated risks.

Methods: A retrospective consecutive series of 91 eyes (91 patients) with nonischemic CRVO with a mean +/- SD duration of 15.0 +/- 15.2 weeks (range, 3 to 72 weeks )and corrected visual acuity reduced to 20/100 or less because of perfused macular edema were reviewed. All eyes had one or more anastomotic attempts using argon laser (combined with Nd-YAG laser in 46 eyes) and a minimum of 12 months of follow-up.

Results: Successful chorioretinal venous anastomoses were created in 49 eyes (54%). Eighteen eyes (20%) had neovascular complications. These consisted of intravitreal, intraretinal, and subretinal neovascular membranes and were significantly associated with retinal ischemia (P < .001). There was avascular fibrous tissue proliferation at the anastomotic site in eight eyes (9%), and it was not associated with retinal ischemia (P = .727). No eye developed further capillary nonperfusion once an anastomosis became functional. A chorioretinal venous anastomosis was associated with improved vision (P < .001); 84% of eyes had an average +/- SD improvement of 4.3 +/- 3.8 lines (range, 2 to 20 lines), with the remaining 16% having no improvement or reduced vision.

Conclusion: The major vision-threatening complication of laser-induced chorioretinal venous anastomosis for nonischemic CRVO is neovascular membranes occurring at the anastomotic site; these are associated with retinal ischemia. Prompt laser photocoagulation to areas of retinal ischemia that develop after the anastomotic attempt has been made may reduce the risk and severity of this complication.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Choroid / blood supply*
  • Choroid / pathology
  • Choroid / surgery
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / etiology
  • Ischemia / pathology
  • Ischemia / surgery
  • Laser Coagulation
  • Laser Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Retinal Neovascularization / etiology
  • Retinal Neovascularization / pathology
  • Retinal Neovascularization / surgery
  • Retinal Vein / pathology
  • Retinal Vein / surgery*
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion / pathology
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Visual Acuity