Urokinase is a plasminogen activator of human origin which breaks up the fibrin base of blood clots. When given as an intravitreal injection it produces hypopyon and glaucoma, both of which transient. In a series of 27 patients (34 eyes) with unresolved vitreous haemorrhage, this simple and relatively atraumatic treatment has produced marked objective improvement in 10, and greatly improved the life styles of a further 9. This series brings the total of reported cases to 93. When compared with recent American reports of surgical vitrectomy for vitreous haemorrhage, intravitreal urokinase appears to have a higher success rate, with a lower complication rate both in the short and long term. This study suggests that, despite the high cost of the purified enzyme, urokinase should be come the first line of attack in vitreous haemorrhage, vitrectomy being reserved for those patients who fail to respond.
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