Understanding Congenital Prepapillary Vascular Loop: Clinical Insights for Eye Care Professionals

Congenital Prepapillary Vascular Loop (CPVL) is a rare but intriguing vascular anomaly that eye care professionals should be familiar with. This condition involves an abnormal vascular structure located anterior to the optic nerve head.

Clinical Presentation:

CPVL typically presents as a tortuous vascular loop extending from the optic nerve head towards the vitreous cavity. This loop can vary in size and configuration, sometimes appearing as a fine vessel and at other times forming a more prominent loop. The most common vascular loops are arterial in origin and rarely venous. Most patients with CPVL are asymptomatic, with the condition incidentally discovered during routine eye examinations. CPVL can sometimes be associated with spontaneous and recurrent vitreous hemorrhage, amaurosis fugax, branch retinal artery or vein occlusion, and subretinal hemorrhage.

Diagnostic Considerations:

CPVL is a clinical diagnosis and in most cases and does not require further diagnostic imaging.

Clinical Pearls:

– CPVL should be distinguished from neovascularization of the disc and collaterals.

– Prepapillary capillary loops are not associated with any systemic condition.

– They are usually unilateral in presentation, but can rarely be bilateral.

Management Approach:

In most cases, CPVL does not require active intervention or treatment. Observation and periodic follow-up are recommended to monitor for any changes or complications. Management focuses on addressing associated symptoms or complications if they arise such as vitreous hemorrhage for instance.


Subramanian V, Govindaraj I, Rajendran A. Prepapillary vascular loops – A new classification. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2023 Aug;71(8):3117-3118. doi: 10.4103/IJO.IJO_639_23. PMID: 37530298; PMCID: PMC10538841.