We report a classical case of branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO) in the acute setting and review the literature relating to the diagnostic, therapeutic and prognostic facets of this condition. BRAO can cause sudden visual loss and is not an infrequent presentation to emergency medical services. BRAO may indicate predisposing and related conditions capable of significant morbidity and mortality. Although current therapeutic practices in the acute setting are of uncertain benefit, conservative measures may be attempted in the emergency room by a nonophthalmologist with the aim of dislodging the causative embolus. Regardless of the current means of acute management, anitplatelet therapy and cardiovascular risk management remain the mainstay of treatment for BRAO. The potential for life-threatening systemic associations necessities investigation and multidisciplinary input.