New Treatment Found to Reduce Vision Loss
from Central Retinal Vein Occlusion
Eye injections of corticosteroid medication may improve patients' vision
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Caroline Baumal, MD
The Standard Care vs. Corticosteroid for Retinal Vein Occlusion (SCORE) study, conducted at 84 clinical sites, found that eye injections of a corticosteroid medication could reduce vision loss related to the blockage of major blood vessels within the eye, a condition known as central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). Treated patients were also five times more likely to gain vision after one year than patients who were under observation.
"Occlusion of the central retinal vein is a significant cause of reduced vision in people over 60 in this country and is often associated with diabetes mellitus, hypertension and elevated cholesterol" "The SCORE study is the first, large, multicenter study to show intravitreal steroid treatment can lead to improvement in vision in certain individuals with blockage of the central retinal vein, said Caroline Baumal, M.D., Assistant Professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine and a Principal Investigator of the SCORE study. "This can offer hope of visual improvement in people who suffer from this potentially devastating visual disorder."
Until now, there has been no proven, effective way to treat CRVO. However, some ophthalmologists have treated patients with eye injections of an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid called triamcinolone, though its effectiveness had not been tested in a clinical trial. The SCORE study was the first to compare the safety and effectiveness of standard care observation with two different dosages of triamcinolone: 1 milligram and 4 milligrams. The results appear in the September 2009 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, published alongside findings from a separate trial within the SCORE Study, which looked at blockages in smaller retinal veins.
Study participants included 271 people with CRVO who were an average of 68 years old. Patients in the treatment group could receive a maximum of three corticosteroid injections every year for up to three years, based on the state of their disease.
At one year, patients who received either dose of the corticosteroid medication were five times more likely than those who did not receive treatment to experience a substantial visual gain of three or more lines on a vision chart—equivalent to identifying letters that were half as small as they could read before treatment. However, patients in the 1 milligram group had fewer side effects related to increased eye pressure and cataract formation than those in the 4 milligram group.
"These are very welcome results because up to now there has been no effective way to treat patients who have a central retinal vein occlusion," said Frederick L. Ferris III, M.D., clinical director of the NEI. "Now, clinicians could offer CRVO patients a low-dose corticosteroid injection that may increase their chance of visual improvement."
The SCORE study was co-chaired by Michael S. Ip, M.D., associate professor at the
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The New England Eye Center (NEEC), is the ophthalmology department at
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National Eye Institute
The National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, leads the federal government's research on the visual system and eye diseases. NEI supports basic and clinical science programs that result in the development of sight-saving treatments. For more information, visit www.nei.nih.gov.
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The National Institutes of Health (NIH)—The Nation's Medical Research Agency—includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
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