Amaurosis Fugax or Loss of Vision

Eyes | Cardiology | Amaurosis Fugax or Loss of Vision (Disease)


Amaurosis fugax is a brief loss of vision, lasting for seconds or minutes, usually affecting one eye and caused by the temporary blockage of a small blood vessel in the eye by embolism. Amaurosis fugax is a symptom of carotid artery disease.

Symptoms include the sudden loss of vision in one eye. Total or sectorial vision loss typically lasts only a few seconds, but may last minutes or even hours. Duration depends on the etiology of the vision loss. Some patients describe the loss of vision as a gray or black shade coming down over their eye.

Causes and Risk factors

Amaurosis occurs when a piece of plaque in a carotid artery breaks off and travels to the retinal artery in the eye. Atherosclerosis of the arteries in the neck is the main risk factor for this condition.

Despite the temporary nature of the vision loss, those experiencing amaurosis fugax are usually advised to consult a physician immediately as it is a symptom that usually heralds serious vascular events, including stroke.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If the diagnostic workup reveals a systemic disease process, directed therapies to treat that underlying etiology should be initiated. If the amaurosis fugax is caused by an atherosclerotic lesion, aspirin is indicated, and a carotid endarterectomy if the stenosis is surgically accessible. ...

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