Acute bilateral retinal artery occlusion causing sudden blindness in 25-year-old patient

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A 25-year-old male patient presented to the emergency department with the chief complaint of sudden blindness and was found to have suffered bilateral central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO). This process is most commonly the result of a thrombus or embolus that occludes the retinal artery, and normally presents in a single eye in patients older than 65 who are predisposed to vascular disease. Diagnosis relies most heavily upon funduscopic exam. Potential treatments involve ocular massage, acetazolamide, anterior chamber paracentesis and systemic or local fibrinolysis. Despite these interventions vision is often significantly and permanently impaired. This case underscores the importance of the emergency physician's ability to promptly perform and interpret the funduscopic exam in order to diagnose and evaluate CRAO.

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