Sunday, December 11, 2005

amaurosis fugax

amaurosis fugax (transient loss of vision)
The term amaurosis fugax describes repeated transient episodes of visual loss in one eye. These may be caused by GIANT CELL ARTERITIS or migraine headaches. However, most are due to carotid artery insufficiency as a result of atherosclerotic lesions in the neck. In the majority, the immediate cause is temporary closure of an artery of the retina by a blood or cholesterol embolus. Rarely, it is caused from a reduction in blood pressure and flow in the major artery of the eye from severe narrowing or total closure of the internal carotid artery.
Symptoms of amaurosis fugax include a transient loss of vision in one eye that may be recurrent. Some people with amaurosis fugax suffer permanent loss of sight.
Treatment for amaurosis fugax involves determining the cause of the vascular insufficiency. Generally, once the blood flow is restored, either through medications or surgery, the amaurosis fugax is resolved. Full medical assessment is necessary to evaluate the need for an endarterectomy (opening the artery). Aspirin may reduce the frequency of attacks of amaurosis fugax, presumably by inhibiting the accumulation of platelets. Systemic steroids are immediately used if there is any evidence of giant cell arteritis.
Amaurosis fugax may be a warning signal preceding a STROKE or heart attack. If amaurosis fugax occurs frequently, a prompt physical checkup is indicated.

See also TRANSIENT ISCHEMIC ATTACK.
Newell, F. W. Ophthalmology Principles and Concepts, 6th ed. St. Louis, C. V. Mosby Co., 1986.
Slatt, B. J., and Stein, H. A. The Ophthalmic Assistant Fundamentals and Clinical Practice. 4th ed. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1983.

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