Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is associated with hyperhomocysteinaemia and the antiphospholipid syndrome-disorders known to contribute to both arterial and venous thrombosis. In both of these conditions and RVO, platelet activation occurs. Aspirin, not warfarin, is the most effective antithrombotic agent in RVO and, taken together, these observations suggest an important role for platelets in this common ocular thrombotic condition. Platelet glycoprotein Ia/IIa (GpIa/IIa) is an adhesion molecule mediating platelet-collagen interactions and is key to the initiation of thrombosis. Recently, the cellular density of this molecule was shown to be determined by two silent, linked polymorphisms (C807T/G873A) within the GpIa/IIa gene. There is evidence that some of the resulting genotypes are associated with thrombo-embolic disease. This study therefore aimed to establish the prevalence of the GpIa/IIa polymorphisms and the three commonest hereditary thrombophilic disorders (prothrombin gene G20210A (PT) mutation, Factor V Leiden (FVL), and the thermolabile methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase C677T (MTHFR) mutation) in patients with RVO and normal controls. The GpIa/IIa polymorphisms and thrombophilic abnormalities were all identified using the polymerase chain reaction.Our results show that the frequency of the GpIa/IIa polymorphisms was similar in our normal control population to previously published series. Patients with RVO, however, had only a 10% (4/40) frequency of the lowest risk subtype (CC/GG) compared to 37.5% (15/40) in the control group-P 0.0039. The incidence of the PT, FVL, and MTHFR thrombophilic mutations was not different between the two groups, but interestingly none of the 7/40 RVO cases with a PT, FVL, or MTHFR mutation had the low-risk GpIa/IIa genotype while all but one of the controls did-P<0.05. Thus, 17.5% of RVO patients harboured more than one prothrombotic abnormality. The principal difference between the RVO and control group was the very high incidence of the intermediate-risk GpIa/IIa subtype (CT/GA)-82.5 vs 50%, P&<0.05. These results suggest a major role for GpIa/IIa polymorphisms in the pathogenesis of RVO.