Purpose: Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) is a vision-threatening condition with a potentially poor visual prognosis. Many different treatment modalities are suggested but controversy remains regarding effectiveness of these treatments. The purpose of this study is to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis in addition to analyzing retrospective data at our own tertiary care center regarding effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in treatment of CRAO. Methods: The PubMed, Scopus, and the Cochrane Library are searched from the date of database inception to September 2021 to conduct a review based on the PRISMA (preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis), evaluating the role of HBOT in visual recovery of CRAO patients. In addition, a retrospective chart review of patients clinically diagnosed with CRAO at our university-based hospital (University of Texas Health, San Antonio, TX, USA) from year 2011 to 2021 was conducted. Results: After a review of 376 articles, three articles met the inclusion criteria for meta-analysis, where a total of 207 patients received HBOT versus 89 patients that did not receive any form of oxygen therapy. Analysis of these results demonstrate that HBOT in CRAO patients does not enhance the final visual outcome (p = 0.83). Similar conclusion was also drawn from retrospective analysis of 48 patients (15 HBOT versus 33 controls) at our tertiary care center, where no visual benefit was observed in the HBOT group. Conclusions: HBOT does not appear to improve final visual outcome and concerns remain regarding adverse reactions such as barotrauma and generalized seizures. Large, randomized studies are required for further understanding of the role of HBOT in treatment of CRAO.
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