- sudden and profound, painless loss of vision; in branch occlusion, visual defect corresponds to branch affected
- affected pupil is poorly reactive to light, if at all; consensual light reaction is normal
- retina is pale and opaque due to oedema
- retinal arteries are irregular and appear as red threads
- lacking the inner retinal layers, the fovea remains transparent and presents a conspicuous "cherry red spot" due to transmission of the choroidal circulation
- optic atrophy develops after a few weeks, the optic nerve becoming dead white
Occlusion due to vasospastic disease is transient, and vision usually returns within a few hours. Occlusion by emboli may be preceded by episodic flickering as minute emboli interrupt blood flow before disintegrating and passing to the periphery.
Last reviewed 01/2018