Central retinal vein

Jump to: navigation, search
Vein: Central retinal vein
Veins of orbit. (Central retinal vein not labeled, but region is visible - the vein is inside the optic nerve.)
Diagram of the blood vessels of the eye, as seen in a horizontal section. (Central retinal vein not labeled, but region is visible. The central retinal vein is at bottom running away from the retina through the optic nerve.)
Latin vena centralis retinae
Drains to superior ophthalmic vein, cavernous sinus
Artery central retinal artery
MeSH Central+retinal+vein
/ Elsevier

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

The central retinal vein (retinal vein) is a short vein that runs through the optic nerve and drains blood from the capillaries of the retina into the larger veins outside the eye. The anatomy of the veins of the orbit of the eye varies between individuals, and in some the central retinal vein drains into the superior ophthalmic vein, and in some it drains directly into the cavernous sinus.[1] [2]


The central retinal vein is the venous equivalent of the central retinal artery, and like that blood vessel can suffer from occlusion (central retinal vein occlusion), similar to that seen in ocular ischemic syndrome. Since the central retinal artery and vein are the sole source of blood supply and drainage for the retina, such occlusion can lead to severe damage to the retina and blindness.


  1. Venous Anatomy of the Orbit Cheung and McNab. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 2003;44:988-995
  2. MeSH entry for central retinal vein - National Library of Medicine - Medical Subject Headings - 2007