Friday, November 18, 2011

CRAO: Fast Intervention with Hyperbaric Oxygen Helps Save Student's Eyesight

Here's the kind of story we'd like to read more often, about a timely referral to a hyperbaric oxygen treatment center to prevent blindness due to central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO). University of Delaware student Alyssa Tait was fortunate to receive quick attention in a medical community familiar enough with HBOT to make the right connection in time. Most impressive of all is the initiative medical directors  took to reach out, free up a chamber at Christiana Care Wound Care Center in Wilmington, and get Tait the treatment she so urgently needed.

Central retinal artery occlusion is a blockage in one of the small arteries that supply blood to the retina of the eye. People with CRAO experience sudden blindness, blurring, or partial loss of vision. The vascular event is usually brief and painless, but retinal damage and impaired vision may be permanent. Proper treatment in the first 24 hours is critical. Better if hyperbaric oxygen can be administered within 2-12 hours of symptom onset.

Tait's story is heartwarming and encouraging. Now if only the word about HBOT, one of the few treatments proven effective for CRAO, would spread among more ophthalmologists and emergency physicians.

Read the full account in Christiana Care News.

[Photo: Christiana Care News, Barbara McCullough and her daughter Alyssa Tait]

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