The records of fifty-two consecutive patients with the ocular ischemic syndrome seen between 1978 and 1985 were reviewed with the purpose of investigating the visual prognosis and effects of treatment. On initial presentation, 43% of affected eyes had a visual acuity of 20/20-20/50, whereas 37% were counting fingers or worse. By the end of one year, only 24% remained in the 20/20-20/50 group, while 58% were counting fingers or worse. The presence of rubeosis iridis was an indicator of poor visual prognosis. Ninety-seven percent of eyes with rubeosis had vision of counting fingers or worse at the end of one year. We were unable to demonstrate convincingly that carotid endarterectomy and superficial temporal artery to middle cerebral artery bypass were of benefit in stabilizing or improving vision in persons with the ocular ischemic syndrome.