Objective: To evaluate the success rate and long-term outcome of cyclocryotherapy for refractory pediatric glaucoma.
Design: Retrospective interventional case series.
Participants: A total of 64 eyes of 49 patients from 2 institutions with pediatric glaucomas resistant to conventional medical and surgical therapies treated with cyclocryotherapy from 1975 to 1996 were included in this review.
Intervention: Cyclocryotherapy was performed on eyes with pediatric glaucoma resistant to maximal medical and surgical interventions. Each cyclocryotherapy session was evaluated in terms of area treated, temperature, and number of applications placed.
Main outcome measures: Criteria for success included intraocular pressure (IOP) of 21 mmHg or less without devastating complications or need for further glaucoma surgery.
Results: The mean baseline pretreatment IOP of all eyes was 30.0 +/- 8.1 mmHg. Six months after their last treatment, 42 eyes (66%) were successes. Longer term follow-up (mean, 4.8 +/- 3.3 years) yielded a lower final success rate in 28 eyes (44%). For these 28 eyes, mean IOP was reduced from 30.3 +/- 7.8 mmHg pretreatment to 16.8 +/- 4.0 mmHg after their last cyclocryotherapy treatment session (P < 0.001). The average number of cyclocryotherapy sessions for successful eyes was 4.1 +/- 4.0 (range, 1-17). The mean follow-up time for these successful eyes was 4.9 +/- 3.4 years. Devastating complications attributable to cyclocryotherapy included phthisis (5 eyes) and retinal detachment (5 eyes). Devastating complications occurred more frequently among eyes with aniridia than among all other eyes (nonaniridics) (50% vs. 11%, respectively; P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Cyclocryotherapy is an effective means of lowering IOP and is a reasonable treatment option in selected pediatric patients with refractory glaucoma. Eyes with aniridia experienced a very high rate of phthisis after cyclocryotherapy and may be poor candidates for this treatment.