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Acute occlusion of the retinal arteries: current concepts and recent advances in diagnosis and management
  1. S Beatty,
  2. K G Au Eong
  1. Medical Retina Unit, Department of Clinical Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Hospital, City Road, London EC1V 2PD
  1. Correspondence to: Mr Beatty (stephen{at}


Purpose/Background—Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) is usually a blinding event, and is not an infrequent presentation to the accident and emergency (A&E) department. The evidence-base in support of current treatment options is weak.

Methods—This paper reviewed the literature germane to the diagnostic, therapeutic and prognostic aspects of retinal arterial occlusive disease.

Results—The visual prognosis associated with CRAO remains poor, and current therapeutic practices are of unproven benefit. The non-ophthalmologist in the A&E department should lie the patient flat and give a stat dose of intravenous acetazolamide in an attempt to improve the retinal perfusion pressure.

Conclusion—The management of acute occlusion of the central retinal artery has not changed over the past 30 years, although the potential benefits of superselective intra-arterial fibrinolytic therapy warrant evaluation in a randomised controlled trial. The identification of underlying pathology is an essential component of medical care, and all cases should be followed up by an ophthalmologist because of the possibility of ocular rubeosis.

  • atheroma
  • embolus
  • fibrinolysis
  • retinal artery occlusion

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.