Ocular Cryotherapy

Ocular cryotherapy is the therapeutic use of cold temperatures to treat disorders of the lids or eyes. The targeted cold passes through the thin eye wall to the retina, freezing off areas around a tear or hole.  The scar tissue created by the freeze will then gradually re-attach the retinal layers.

Ocular Cryotherapy can also help seal off leaky, abnormal blood vessels that contribute to a vitreous haemorrhage and stop the formation of these vessels that is common in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. For patients with rubeotic glaucoma, cryotherapy can prevent the formation of abnormal blood vessels on the front of the eye. Ocular Cryotherapy is often used in retinal tears, peripheral retinal holes, retinal detachment, peripheral exudative retinopathies and some types of tumours of the eye.

With the exception of cataract extraction, ocular cryotherapy is generally used as a surface technique, with the probe being applied to the lids or eye without any incision into the tissue. Because of the absence of an incision, it is considered to be a less invasive type of procedure than incisional surgery.

Ocular Cryotherapy has been used in ophthalmology since the mid-1960s. Medical use of cryotherapy is based on the tissue changes induced by subfreezing temperatures. Living tissue responds to extremely cold temperatures through ice formation, both within cells and also in the extra cellular fluid surrounding cells. In addition, subfreezing temperatures cause ice formation within small blood vessels, interrupting blood supply to adjacent cells. A combination of these factors destroys living tissue and induce inflammation as a response to cell death.