Retinal arterial occlusions in young adults

Am J Ophthalmol. 1995 Dec;120(6):776-83. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)72731-x.


Purpose: To determine the cause, associated factors, visual results, and systemic morbidity in patients less than 40 years old with retinal arterial occlusions.

Methods: We studied 27 eyes with nontraumatic retinal arterial occlusions in 21 patients less than 40 years old (range, 22 to 38 years; mean, 28 years).

Results: Of the 21 patients, branch retinal artery (arteriolar) occlusion occurred in 15 (71%), central retinal artery occlusion occurred in five (24%), and cilioretinal artery occlusion occurred in one (5%). Retinal artery occlusions were bilateral in six patients (29%) and occurred in 14 women (67%). Emboli were identifiable in seven patients (33%). Cardiac valvular disease was the most commonly recognized etiologic agent and was present in four patients (19%). Various associated factors leading to a hypercoagulable state or embolic condition were identified in 19 patients (91%).

Conclusion: Retinal arterial occlusions in young adults occur via multiple mechanisms. Systemic evaluation allows detection of a risk factor for retinal arterial occlusive disease in most patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / epidemiology
  • Embolism / complications
  • Embolism / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Heart Valve Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retinal Artery / pathology
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / etiology*
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / pathology
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Visual Acuity