Therapies for Macular Edema Associated with Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion. A Report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Justis P. Ehlers, Stephen J. Kim, Steven Yeh, Jennifer E. Thorne, Prithvi Mruthyunjaya, Scott D. Schoenberger, Sophie J. Bakri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the available evidence on the ocular safety and efficacy of current therapeutic alternatives for the management of macular edema (ME) secondary to branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO). Methods: Literature searches were last conducted on January 31, 2017, in PubMed with no date restrictions and limited to articles published in English, and in the Cochrane Database without language limitations. The searches yielded 321 citations, of which 109 were reviewed in full text and 27 were deemed appropriate for inclusion in this assessment. The panel methodologist assigned ratings to the selected studies according to the level of evidence. Results: Level I evidence was identified in 10 articles that addressed anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pharmacotherapies for ME, including intravitreal bevacizumab (5), aflibercept (2), and ranibizumab (4). Level I evidence was identified in 6 studies that examined intravitreal corticosteroids, including triamcinolone (4) and the dexamethasone implant (2). Level I evidence also was available for the role of macular grid laser photocoagulation (7) and scatter peripheral laser surgery (1). The inclusion of level II and level III studies was limited given the preponderance of level I studies. The number of studies on combination therapy is limited. Conclusions: Current level I evidence suggests that intravitreal pharmacotherapy with anti-VEGF agents is effective and safe for ME secondary to BRVO. Prolonged delay in treatment is associated with less improvement in visual acuity (VA). Level I evidence also indicates that intravitreal corticosteroids are effective and safe for the management of ME associated with BRVO; however, corticosteroids are associated with increased potential ocular side effects (e.g., elevated intraocular pressure, cataracts). Laser photocoagulation remains a safe and effective therapy, but VA results lag behind the results for anti-VEGF therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 28 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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