A couple of months back, a patient with retinal artery occlusion (“RAO”) was referred to Atlanta Hyperbaric for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (“HBOT”) as her final hope to regain some vision. At that time, I discussed the available medical science in this blog. Recall that the best study was performed on a group of patients who received HBOT soon after the onset of RAO. My patient wasn’t so lucky. Many weeks had elapsed between her episode of RAO and her referral to Atlanta Hyperbaric. I am pleased to report that after 18 hyperbaric treatments at 2.4 ATA for 90 minutes, she reports an improvement in visual acuity. I don’t have all the data back from her ophthalmologist, and I am planning to continue her HBOT therapy, but I do have some impressive retinal scans. The first scan below shows what her retinas looked like at the beginning of her illness and several months before she was referred:
The next scan shows her retinas after 18 HBOT treatments:
It doesn’t take an ophthalmologist to see that most of the cotton wool spots and exudates have resolved, which is consistent with my patient’s improved vision. I’ll fill in the details when I get them, but my patient is very pleased.
One last thing: This lady was fortunate enough to able to afford to pay for her HBOT treatment out of pocket. Her insurance company considered HBOT for treatment of RTO to be “experimental” and gave her the back of its hand.