gms | German Medical Science

23rd Annual Meeting of the German Retina Society

German Retina Society

24.09. - 25.09.2010, Freiburg

Combined branch retinal artery and central retinal vein obstruction associated with interferon β therapy

Meeting Abstract

  • Teresa Jenisch - University Eye Clinic Regensburg
  • T. Dietrich - University Eye Clinic Regensburg
  • A.B. Renner - University Eye Clinic Regensburg
  • H. Helbig - University Eye Clinic Regensburg
  • M.A. Gamulescu - University Eye Clinic Regensburg

German Retina Society. 23rd Annual Conference of the German Retina Society. Freiburg i. Br., 24.-25.09.2010. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2010. Doc10rg46

doi: 10.3205/10rg46, urn:nbn:de:0183-10rg465

This is the translated version of the article.
The original version can be found at:

Published: September 21, 2010

© 2010 Jenisch et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Interferon β is commonly used in treatment of multiple sclerosis. Thromboembolic complications are associated with IFN β therapy. Ocular complications have not previously been reported.

Method: We describe a case of branch artery obstruction (BAO) combined with central vein obstruction (CVO) in a female patient undergoing IFN β therapy.

Results: A 44-year-old woman was evaluated for sudden and painless decreased vision in her right eye. For ten years she had been receiving IFN β for multiple sclerosis. On examination, her visual acuity was 1/35 on her right eye. Fundus examination revealed a CVO. In addition fluorescein angiogram showed 2 non perfusion areas in the papillomacular bundle and nasal of the optic nerve, compatible with BAO. The OCT revealed a cystoid macular edema. The patient was admitted for heamodilution therapy and underwent a systemic workup. Diabetes and arterial hypertension have been ruled out, hypercoagulable status and rheumatoid factors studies were negative. The patient denied the use of hormonal contraception.

Conclusion: CVO occurring together with a simultaneous BAO has only been reported with IFN α therapy in combination with ribavirin in hepatitis C patients. Ribavirin may be a contributing factor to the occurrence of IFN α retinopathy because of its synergistic action when used together with IFN. The occurrence of a combined retinal vascular occlusion in our patient, in which we did not reveal any other risc factors for thromboembolic events, points toward an association with the long-term use of IFN β.