Purtscher's retinopathy is a rare condition, seen in patients with a history of trauma or other systemic disease. The clinical appearance would suggest embolic occlusion of the pre-capillary arterioles as the most likely pathogenesis, although other factors leading to blood-vessel damage may also contribute. The diagnosis is made on clinical grounds and supported by intravenous fluorescein angiography. Without treatment, the majority of patients recover some of their visual function. Treatment with systemic steroids may improve visual outcome in some patients but at present there is little evidence to support such treatment routinely.