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Treatments for Corneal Neovascularization: A Review

Gupta, Deepak MRCOphth; Illingworth, Chris MD, FRCS

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318201405a

Corneal neovascularization (CNV) may be a physiological response to various stimuli, but a chronic and persistent upregulation of neoangiogenesis can result in pathological CNV. Pathological blood vessels are immature and lack structural integrity, predisposing the cornea to lipid exudation, inflammation, and scarring. CNV can therefore become a potentially blinding condition. In this review, we frame CNV in an epidemiological perspective, consider risk factors for CNV, provide an overview of CNV pathogenesis, and consider the impact of CNV on corneal transplantation. We consider treatments that are of largely historical interest, before reviewing contemporary medical and surgical treatments. Within medical treatments, we report on steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, antivascular endothelial growth factor agents, and cyclosporine. Within surgical treatments, we report on the use of lasers, photodynamic therapy, superficial keratectomy, and diathermy/cautery-based treatments.

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom.

Received for publication November 16, 2009; revision received July 9, 2010; accepted August 8, 2010.

No financial interests to declare.

Reprints: Deepak Gupta, Department of Ophthalmology, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Colney Lane, Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7UU (e-mail:

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