Is there still a role of macular laser treatment in branch retinal vein occlusion in the era of intravitreal injections?

Anne Møller Stenner, Katrine Hartmund Frederiksen, Jakob Grauslund*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review


We aimed to evaluate whether macular laser still has a role in the treatment of macular oedema (MO) caused by branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) and provide an overview of recent studies on commonly available treatment options. A literature search was last conducted in PubMed on 26 February 2019, limited to human randomized controlled trials published in English since 2008. Seventeen articles addressing 13 trials were included in this assessment. In trials evaluating intravitreal corticosteroid and macular laser, triamcinolone was non-inferior to laser in regard to visual acuity (VA) and central retinal thickness (CRT) outcomes. Combination treatment of dexamethasone and laser resulted in better VA and lower CRT after 6 months. In trials evaluating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors versus macular laser treatment, or sham and rescue laser, better VA and CRT of VEGF inhibition treatment was consistently reported. Results of combination treatment versus VEGF inhibition monotherapy were inconsistent, with four of six studies reporting comparable outcomes and injection burden. Study comparison was affected by considerable differences in study design and inadequate reporting of laser protocol and rescue laser. Studies evaluating angiostatic treatment as monotherapy largely report the use of rescue laser, indicating that some patients would benefit from supplemental laser treatment even in the era of intravitreal therapy. Thus, we suggest further studies on optimal design of combination therapy prioritizing longer follow-up time to sufficiently evaluate the delayed effect of laser.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)9-21
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020



  • branch retinal vein occlusion
  • corticosteroid
  • macular laser
  • macular oedema
  • randomized controlled trials
  • review
  • vascular endothelial growth factor

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