Treatment of Retinal Artery Occlusion After Intra-Arterial Injection of Soft-Tissue Fillers

Standardized approach to treatment of retinal artery occlusion after intraarterial injection of soft tissue fillers: EYE-CODE

Sheila Barbarino, MD • Tanuj Banker, MD • John Fezza, MD

Background

Inadvertent intraarterial injection of soft tissue fillers during facial aesthetic procedures can result in serious adverse events including visual impairment and blindness. Once the retinal artery has been occluded, only a short window of opportunity exists before blindness becomes irreversible. All physicians should be prepared for the eventuality of intraarterial injection, despite its rarity.

Objective

The aim of this document is to provide a simple and evidence-based protocol using the easy to remember acronym EYE-CODE: EYE (I call retinal referral center), C (check vision), O (optic nerve function), D (decrease intraocular pressure), and E (erase filler).

Methods

The EYE-CODE acronym incorporates 2 key components: (1) a systematic office-based protocol to first determine whether vision loss is present and to what extent and (2) a treatment strategy that can be started in the acute office setting and continued by an emergency ophthalmologist.

Results

The protocol incorporates a crash kit of treatments readily available to an aesthetic physician combining measures to rapidly reduce intraocular pressure to allow the emboli to dislodge downstream with measures to improve retinal perfusion.

Conclusion

EYE-CODE provides an up-to-date, one-stop reference for appropriate management of retinal artery occlusion induced by injection of soft tissue fillers.

Graphical abstract

Published: December 27, 2020