Amaurosis Fugax: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention

What is Amaurosis Fugax?

Amaurosis Fugax is a type of temporary vision loss usually characterized by the sudden onset of symptoms due to a lack of oxygen caused by reduced blood flow to the eye. It is commonly seen in older people who have vascular disease such as stroke, hypertension, and diabetes. Symptoms include a sudden blurring, shrinking or darkening of vision, usually in one eye. This can last for a few seconds to minutes and may be accompanied by additional symptoms such as headache, vertigo and reduced color vision.

Causes of Amaurosis Fugax

The most common cause of amaurosis fugax is a blockage of arteries that supply blood to the eyes. This can be due to a number of factors such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), thrombosis (formation of a clot) or embolism (blood clot travels to the eye). Other conditions that can contribute to amaurosis fugax include stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. Sleep apnea, head trauma and circulatory disorders can also be a factor in the development of amaurosis fugax.

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Symptoms of Amaurosis Fugax

People with amaurosis fugax will usually experience a sudden painless loss of vision. This can manifest as blurriness, darkening, or a “spot” or “curtain” in the visual field. It typically lasts for a few seconds to several minutes and can affect only one eye. The onset of symptoms tends to occur at night or when a person is in a dark room.

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Treatments and Prevention for Amaurosis Fugax

The most important treatment for amaurosis fugax is to identify and treat the underlying vascular disorder. This can include lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, taking blood pressure medications, and controlling blood sugar levels. If lifestyle changes are not effective then more aggressive interventions such as surgery, angioplasty or laser therapy may be necessary.

In addition to treating the underlying disorder, medications such as antiplatelet agents can be used to reduce the risk of recurrence. These medications work by preventing clots from forming. It is also recommended that individuals with amaurosis fugax wear sunglasses to reduce the risk of further damage to the eyes.

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Health Benefits of Amaurosis Fugax

Amaurosis fugax can be a warning sign of more serious health conditions such as stroke or high blood pressure. Prompt attention to these warning signs can help avoid life-threatening emergencies. Additionally, controlling the underlying vascular disorder can help avoid further damage to the eyes and potentially reduce the risk of vision loss.


Amaurosis Fugax is a type of temporary vision loss that can have serious consequences if not addressed promptly. Proper management of underlying vascular disorders and lifestyle modifications can help reduce the risk of recurrence. Wearing sunglasses and avoiding prolonged exposure to bright lights can also help reduce the risk of further damage.

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