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Natural history of macular status in recent-onset branch retinal vein occlusion: an optical coherence tomography study

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Purpose: To evaluate serially the course of structural changes in the macula in recent onset branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), using optical coherence tomography (OCT). Methods: Twenty eyes of patients at an institutional practice with recent onset BRVO were examined by OCT at presentation and at 3 and 6 months of onset of the occlusion. The macular thickness (MT) and the visual acuity were correlated with the macular perfusion status and analyzed statistically. Results: The mean MT at presentation, 3 and 6 months was 398.9 ± 98.6 mm, 346.8 ± 84.8 mm and 341.3 ± 95.3 mm, respectively. Three distinct anatomical patterns of structural changes were appreciated on OCT-serous retinal detachment (SRD) only in 15%, cystoid macular edema (CME) only in 40%, and a combined form with both SRD and CME in 45%. At 6 months while the non-ischemic group showed an average percentage decline of 26.8% in thickness, the ischemic group showed an increase of 19.2% (P < 0.01). CME resolved in 10 of 13 perfused (non-ischemic) maculae, but persisted in all seven ischemic cases. Conclusion: OCT delineates macular changes at a stage when fundus biomicroscopy and fluorescein angiography are not very informative. The anatomical cause for the increase in MT i.e., SRD and/or CME is also well delineated. Non-ischemic maculae show an early and more rapid decline in MT compared with ischemic occlusions. An increase in MT at 3 months on OCT in BRVO patients could be an indication of a possible ischemic course.

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Correspondence to Daraius Shroff.

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Shroff, D., Mehta, D.K., Arora, R. et al. Natural history of macular status in recent-onset branch retinal vein occlusion: an optical coherence tomography study. Int Ophthalmol 28, 261–268 (2008).

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