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Current treatments and preventive strategies for radiation retinopathy

ABSTRACT - Purpose of review: Radiation retinopathy remains a devastating cause of visual morbidity in patients undergoing radiation for globe, orbit, and head and neck malignancies. This review discusses the recent efforts of several authors to treat radiation retinopathy once it has developed and efforts to prevent its development with early aggressive management.

Recent findings: Intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents and intravitreal steroid agents have been used to successfully treat radiation-induced macular edema and neovascular events secondary to radiation retinopathy. The visual outcomes, however, have varied. Recent work has been directed towards prevention of radiation retinopathy prior to its development. This has been done with preventive scatter laser and intravitreal bevacizumab therapy. Effective customization of radiation dose to the tumor has also reduced some collateral radiation damage. Preventive vitrectomy and silicone oil placement at the time of plaque brachytherapy may shield normal ocular structures from radiation injury.

Summary: Radiation retinopathy remains a major source of visual morbidity following radiotherapy for malignancies. Promising, albeit unproven, new therapies and preventive efforts may ameliorate the negative visual outcomes.

The full article by Dr. David Reichstein can be found at

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