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What Is Amaurosis Fugax?

In some cases of amaurosis fugax, vision loss can become permanent.
A stroke can be the cause of amaurosis fugax.
In some amaurosis fugax cases, a patient experiences blurred vision.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2014
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Amaurosis fugax is a brief loss of vision in one eye. It is sometimes known as temporary monocular blindness. The fleeting loss of vision can be unnerving, and it can also be a sign that something may be seriously wrong, making it important to seek medical attention even after the vision loss resolves itself. In some cases, temporary blindness can be an indicator of a serious medical emergency. Once the cause is identified, it can be treated to prevent additional problems in the future.

A number of problems can lead to amaurosis fugax. One is a temporary interruption in blood supply to the eye. Another is a stroke or another type of neurological event which interrupts the signals sent from the eye to the brain. Certain eye conditions such as glaucoma can also cause amaurosis fugax, as can exposure to centrifugal force, which is why vision in one eye sometimes seems darkened or blurry after some types of carnival rides.

Some people describe the experience as feeling like someone has lowered a blind or curtain over one eye. In other cases, the eye simply blacks out, or someone experiences fuzzy, blurred, or obscured vision. A bout of amaurosis fugax can last a few seconds to several hours, depending on the cause. In some cases, the vision loss can become permanent if it is not addressed.

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When someone presents with amaurosis fugax or informs a doctor that she or he recently experienced a fleeting loss of vision, an ophthalmologist can examine the eye and run a few medical imaging studies to check on the supply of blood to the eye and other obvious issues which may be involved in the vision loss. The patient can also be referred for a neurological evaluation to see if the problem is neurological in origin. These examinations are used to explore potential causes, in the hope of identifying the reason the patient experienced vision loss.

After the cause has been identified, treatment options can be made available. If, for example, amaurosis fugax is caused by a stroke, the stroke needs to be treated right away to prevent damage to the brain. A blockage in the blood supply to the eye, on the other hand, may require surgery to address the blockage or install a stent so that blockages cannot happen again. If the amaurosis fugax is caused by a chronic condition like glaucoma, it can be a sign that better management or more aggressive treatment is needed.

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anon55531
Post 2

Excellent, informative article written in an easily understandable format. Wise Geek can be a great supplement to any person's education. Thank you for your diligence!

anon55518
Post 1

Thank you wiseGEEK for this important article about the eye condition. This condition occurs in me at times and I didn't know it's a problem. I'll consult my doctor as advised. Keep on informing and educating us on the world around us and the chemistries and physics of our bodies.

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