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Central Retinal Artery Occlusion, Emergency Medicine

Reviewed 06/2017



  • Obstruction of the central retinal artery associated with sudden painless loss of vision

  • Usually occurs in persons 50–70 yr of age

  • Ophthalmic artery is 1st branch of carotid.

  • Risk facto...


Signs and Symptoms


  • Sudden, painless, monocular loss of vision

  • Prior episodes of sudden visual loss:

    • May last a few seconds to minutes (amaurosis fugax)

    • Caused by transient embolic phenome...


Initiate treatment immediately because irreversible visual loss occurs at 90 min: 
  • Only immediate treatment may help to salvage or restore sight to the affected eye.

  • Goals of therapy include d...



Admission Criteria

Required for workup of proximal cause in acute cases (source of embolism, thrombosis, or inflammatory) 

Discharge Criteria

Chronic retinal artery occlusion with no...

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • Amaurosis fugax (transient, possibly resolved retinal artery occlusion) is a sentinel event and may lead to complete occlusion or stroke. Do not ignore these symptoms and urgent wo...

Additional Reading

  • Arnold  M, Koerner  U, Remonda  L, et al. Comparison of intra-arterial thrombolysis with conventional treatment in patients with acute central retinal artery occlusion. J Neurol Neu...



362.31 Central retinal artery occlusion 


  • H34.10 Central retinal artery occlusion, unspecified eye

  • H34.11 Central retinal artery occlusion, right eye

  • H34.12 Central retinal artery occlusion...

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