Hemi- and Central Retinal Vein Occlusion Associated with COVID-19 Infection in Young Patients without Known Risk Factors. Ophthalmol Retina 2022;6(6):520-530.Abstract.
PURPOSE: Venous thromboembolic complications have been reported in association with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. We raised awareness regarding a potential temporal association between COVID-19 infection and retinal vein occlusion (RVO). DESIGN: Multicenter, retrospective, nonconsecutive case series. SUBJECTS: Patients presenting with hemi-RVO (HRVO) or central RVO (CRVO) between March 2020 and March 2021, with confirmed COVID-19 infection, were included. The exclusion criteria were as follows: age >50 years, hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma, obesity, underlying hypercoagulable states, and those requiring intubation during hospitalization. METHODS: This was a multicenter, retrospective, nonconsecutive case series including patients presenting with hemi-RVO (HRVO) or central RVO (CRVO) between March 2020 and March 2021, with confirmed COVID-19 infection. The exclusion criteria were as follows: age >50 years, hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma, obesity, underlying hypercoagulable states, and those requiring intubation during hospitalization. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Ophthalmic findings, including presenting and final visual acuity (VA), imaging findings, and clinical course. RESULTS: Twelve eyes of 12 patients with CRVO (9 of 12) or HRVO (3 of 12) after COVID-19 infection were included. The median age was 32 years (range, 18-50 years). Three patients were hospitalized, but none were intubated. The median time from COVID-19 diagnosis to ophthalmic symptoms was 6.9 weeks. The presenting VA ranged from 20/20 to counting fingers, with over half (7 of 12) having a VA of ≥20/40. OCT revealed macular edema in 42% of the eyes; of these, 80% (4 of 5) were treated with anti-VEGF injections. Ninety-two percent (11 of 12) had partial or complete resolution of ocular findings at final follow-up. Four eyes (33%) had retinal thinning, as determined using OCT, by the end of the study interval. The final VA ranged from 20/20 to 20/60, with 11 of the 12 (92%) eyes achieving a VA of ≥20/40 at a median final follow-up period of 13 weeks (range, 4-52 weeks). CONCLUSIONS: Although we acknowledge the high seroprevalence of COVID-19 and that a causal relationship cannot be established, we reported this series to raise awareness regarding the potential risk of retinal vascular events due to a heightened thromboinflammatory state associated with COVID-19 infection.