Vitrectomy prevents retinal hypoxia in branch retinal vein occlusion.
Vitrectomy has been shown to halt diabetic retinal neovascularization, but the mechanism of this process is unknown. We propose that vitrectomy improves the oxygen supply to ischemic inner retina by way of fluid currents in the vitreous cavity. In order to test this hypothesis, we induced branch retinal vein occlusion in cats and measured preretinal oxygen tension before and after branch retinal vein occlusion in ten nonvitrectomized and five vitrectomized eyes. Branch retinal vein occlusion caused a significant decrease in preretinal oxygen tension in nonvitrectomized eyes, in which the oxygen tension fell from 20 +/- 7 to 6 +/- 5 mmHg (P = 0.001). Conversely, in vitrectomized eyes the oxygen tension was not significantly reduced after branch retinal vein occlusion. The data demonstrate that branch retinal vein occlusion causes retinal hypoxia in nonvitrectomized eyes, whereas after vitrectomy the hypoxic effect of branch retinal vein occlusion is reduced. The relief of retinal hypoxia that follows vitrectomy may be responsible for halting retinal neovascularization after vitrectomy in diabetic patients.
Stefánsson, E; Novack, RL; Hatchell, DL
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