Branch Retinal Artery Occlusion Follow-up

Updated: Apr 06, 2016
  • Author: Niraj R Nathan, MD; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Further Outpatient Care

Patients should initially be evaluated every 3-6 months to monitor progression.

Ocular neovascularization after branch retinal artery obstruction (BRAO) is rare. If neovascularization occurs, panretinal photocoagulation should be performed.

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Deterrence/Prevention

Controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes can greatly reduce the risk of atherosclerotic disease.

Smoking cessation can also lower the risk of stroke.

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Complications

Stroke is a devastating complication of emboli in the arterial circulation. [25] Few studies report the prospective association between retinal emboli and risk of stroke and stroke mortality. One study reported a 10-fold increase in the annual rate of stroke in patients with retinal emboli compared to controls after a follow-up period of 3.4 years. Another study found a 3-fold higher risk of 8-year mortality from stroke in patients with documented retinal emboli at baseline compared to patients without emboli. A case series reported that 15% of patients with retinal emboli died within 1 year, and a mortality rate of 54% was shown within 7 years.

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Prognosis

Recovery from branch retinal artery obstruction is usually very good without treatment; 80-90% of patients improve to a visual acuity of 20/40 or better. However, some degree of visual field deficit usually persists.

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Patient Education

Patients should know that this disorder may serve as a warning of more serious systemic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease or stroke.

For excellent patient education resources, visit eMedicineHealth's Eye and Vision Center and Cholesterol Center. Also, see eMedicineHealth's patient education articles Anatomy of the Eye, High Cholesterol, and Cholesterol FAQs.

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