clinical features

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Possible features:

  • 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