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The purpose of this study was to assess the risk factors for central retinal vein occlusion and associated morbidity and mortality in a Chinese population.The participants included patients with central retinal vein occlusion 40 years old and younger. Predisposing factors, mortality, and systemic complications were examined in this group.Unilateral (n = 19) and bilateral (n = 3) central retinal vein occlusions were identified in a total of 22 patients (25 eyes), with a mean follow-up time of 37 months. Hypercholesterolemia (65%), hypertriglyceridemia (64%), and hyperhomocysteinemia (42%) were all identified as risk factors. Three patients (14%) developed stroke and 1 (5%) developed transient ischemic attacks during follow-up. Renal failure and pulmonary hypertension resulted in the death of two patients. The mean initial and final visual acuities (±standard deviation) were 20/400 (±20/250) and 20/500 (±20/320), respectively, and treatments did not result in vision improvement (P = 0.57). The poor visual prognosis was likely due to macular edema in 7 eyes (28%), optic atrophy in 4 eyes (16%), and secondary glaucoma in 3 eyes (12%).Morbidity and mortality are high in young Chinese patients with central retinal vein occlusion who may have associated serious complications including stroke, blindness, and death. Central retinal vein occlusion may serve as an initial clinical presentation of serious systemic diseases.