October 14, 2021
World Sight Day

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy a hope for “sudden blindness”

Today, World Sight Day under the international theme LOVE YOUR EYES, I address to you to alert to the need for, and importance of eye health care.

The celebration of this anniversary is an opportunity to sensitize and motivate the population to the need for periodic examinations and consultations, in order to prevent and early diagnose vision health problems that can be easily prevented, and also avoid visual impairment and many times the blindness!

The aim of my reflection is related to a pathology unknown to many: The Central Retinal Artery Occlusion (CRAO)

The CRAO is a blockage of blood flow in the central artery of the retina usually due to an embolism, emerging in a sudden painless and unilateral form, and in a clinical picture of blindness. It occurs more frequently in elderly patients, but it can also occur in young adults and even children.

Unfortunately, in many situations, the available treatments are insufficient to recover vision in the affected eye, and often, when the ophthalmologist suggests Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as an alternative treatment, the window of opportunity for some recovery with this therapy may have already past, so regarding this topic: having prior information is the greatest asset in your eyes’ health.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has proven its effectiveness and safety in a set of pathologies defined by the UHMS (Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society). Particularly, in the ophthalmological field, it is worth mentioning the treatment of vascular diseases of the eye (such as CRAO), eye infections, retinopathy, and optic neuropathy by radiation and in pigmentary retinitis. I would like to mention that many studies deserve to be done so that more and better results can be obtained from this promising treatment.

In the specific case of Central Retinal Artery Occlusion, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy promotes an increase in oxygen bound to hemoglobin and basically in plasma, with a consequent increase in the concentration of oxygen in the vascular territory of the choroid.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy should be carried out in the first hours after vision loss, with maintenance in the following days, to help patients’ visual recovery efforts.

The Hyperbaric Center of Cascais’ staff has a highly specialized team with competence in Hyperbaric Medicine given by the Medical Association and a vast experience in the several applications of this type of treatment.

We have witnessed patients who have come to us and whose treatment is more likely to be successful the fewer hours between occurrence and treatment.

In short: TIME is very important for the eventual success of the treatment!
Time is Vision! And in case you are the target of this fatality or, if you know someone, don’t forget about this alternative, consult, and find out immediately with your ophthalmologist or at the Hospital’s emergency room, don’t wait for the next day!


Maria Luís Gameiro
Direcção Centro Hiperbárico Cascais