Retinal venous pressure was examined in six pigs using a balanced servo-nulling micropuncture technique. The mean transmural venous pressure was 0.95 mmHg (SD 1.50 mmHg). The transmural venous pressure was lower at the optic disc than away from the disc (0.32 +/- 1.46 mmHg vs 1.69 +/- 1.19 mmHg, P < 0.01). At the disc a transmural pressure of zero or less (0 to -0.5 mmHg) was demonstrated in 10/21 (48%) of the disc readings. Over an intraocular pressure range of 15-26 mmHg there was a strong correlation between intraocular pressure and retinal venous pressure (Pearson coefficient r = 0.92). The results are compatible with the Starling resistor theory of venous outflow from the eye.