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Retinal vein occlusion risk may increase after COVID-19 infection

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In the 6 months following COVID-19 infection, individuals may have an increased risk of retinal vein occlusion (RVO), according to a study, although large, epidemiologic studies are needed to better determine any association.

 Regardless, the study authors suggest that clinicians consider this factor when evaluating patients recovering from COVID-19.

In this cohort study, 432,515 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 infection were included. In the 6 months after being diagnosed with COVID-19, 16 patients had a retinal artery occlusion (RAO) and 65 had an RVO.

In the 6 months after COVID-19 infection, the incidence of RVOs was higher than in the 6 months before infection after adjusting for age; sex; self-reported race and ethnicity; body mass index; history of diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia; and hospitalization. A smaller increase in the incidence of RAOs was noted after COVID-19.

The peak incidence of RAOs occurred 10 to 12 weeks after COVID-19 diagnosis and RVOs occurred 6 to 8 weeks after diagnosis.

Modjtahedi BS, Do D, Luong TQ, et al. Changes in the Incidence of Retinal Vascular Occlusions After COVID-19 Diagnosis. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online April 14, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2022.0632