Amaurosis Fugax Symptoms: Risk Factors
The following are some of the risks associated with amaurosis fugax. These risk factors have been reported in other studies. However, these risks may not apply to everyone.
Some of them might even be beneficial.
Age: The older one gets, the higher the chance of developing amaurosis fugax. If you are over 30 years old, then chances are high that you will develop amaurosis fugax sooner or later.
Gender: Men have a greater risk than women do of developing amaurosis fugax.
Family history: People with family members with amaurosis fugax have a higher chance of developing it. Family members are usually those who live together, share food and drink, and spend time in close proximity to each other.
Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of developing amaurosis fugax.
Exposure to sunlight: Exposure to sunlight increases the risk of developing amaurosis fugax. Sunlight exposure is probably due to sun lamps or tanning beds.
Eye surgery: People who have had eye surgery are at an increased risk of developing amaurosis fugax.
High blood pressure: Developing high blood pressure increases the risk of amaurosis fugax.
Diabetes: Those who have or are developing diabetes have a greater risk of developing amaurosis fugax.
Clogged Artery: Having a clogged artery increase the risk of developing amaurosis fugax.
Having said that, it is important to note that having one or two of these risk factors does not necessarily mean you will develop amaurosis fugax. It just means that your risk of developing amaurosis fugax is slightly higher than someone without any of the risk factors. If you have a few of them, then it means your risk is even higher.
Amaurosis Fugax Wikipedia
Amaurosis fugax is a temporary loss of vision in one eye. This condition usually lasts for a few minutes and then vision is restored. In some cases, the vision loss is longer lasting.
In these cases, emergency treatment may be needed. The vision loss can affect one eye at a time or both eyes. There are several medical conditions that can cause amaurosis fugax. Some of these conditions are harmless and temporary. Others may be life threatening and require emergency treatment.
Amaurosis fugax usually occurs in one eye at a time. Vision loss in one eye can occur suddenly or develop over a few minutes. Vision loss in both eyes is rare.
The affected eye may see a gray, white, or colored blur. This depends on the cause of amaurosis fugax. Alternatively, the eye may not see anything at all.
Some people with amaurosis fugax report seeing light or flashes of light.
Amaurosis fugax may also cause double vision or the sensation that someone is shining a bright light into your eye. This symptom can make it difficult to see.
Pupils may be of different sizes or not react to light at all. Eye pain is uncommon but may occur.
The eye may water, itch, or become red.
The affected eye may not react to extreme changes in light (such as going from a dark room to outside on a bright sunlit day).
People with amaurosis fugax may have other neurological symptoms. These may include weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg, difficulties with speech, and changes in personality.
Amaurosis fugax is caused by problems with blood flow to the eye. The blood supply to the retina must flow continuously in order for the eye to see. When this blood supply is interrupted, vision loss occurs.
Vision loss from amaurosis fugax is usually temporary and returns after a few minutes. In some cases, vision loss may last for days, weeks, or months. Occasionally, vision loss is permanent.
The most common cause of amaurosis fugax is a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA occurs when blood flow to the eye is disrupted for a short period of time. TIAs are a warning sign that something more serious may be going on in the body.
If you have had a TIA, you are at risk of having a stroke. Other causes of amaurosis fugax include:
Narrowed carotid arteries
Disrupted blood flow through the heart (caused by a heart attack or heart disease)
Problems with the blood vessels in the retina
Retinal vein thrombosis (blood clots in the veins of the retina)
High blood pressure
Use of steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen and naproxen)
Giant cell arteritis (temporal arteritis), an inflammatory condition that affects the blood vessels
Injury or trauma to the eye
In some cases, the cause of amaurosis fugax is never found.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask you about your medical history. You may need to undergo tests to identify the cause of your condition. These tests may include:
Complete medical history
Vision test to measure vision loss and other visual symptoms
Eye examination, including pupil inspection, retina evaluation, and eye movement assessment
Blood tests to identify possible causes of amaurosis fugax
Carotid ultrasound to assess narrowed carotid arteries
Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) to assess the condition of the heart
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to assess electrical activity of the heart
Carotid angiography to directly view the carotid arteries
Arteriogram to directly view the carotid and vertebral arteries (if narrowed)
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) to directly view the arteries without using a dye
Computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) to assess blood flow through the coronary arteries
Treatment for amaurosis fugax depends on the cause of the condition. If you have had a TIA or transient ischemic attack (warning sign of a stroke), you may be prescribed blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) to prevent a stroke from occurring. If you are at risk of a heart attack or have heart disease, you may be prescribed medicines to help prevent a heart attack.
If you have narrowed carotid arteries, medications and lifestyle changes may be recommended to prevent further narrowing.
Vision loss due to amaurosis fugax usually goes away within a few minutes or days. If the vision loss lasts for more than a few days, you should seek medical help immediately.
Sources & references used in this article:
Effect of aspirin in amaurosis fugax by MJG Harrison, JC Meadows, J Marshall, RWR Russell – The Lancet, 1971 – Elsevier
Current management of amaurosis fugax by HJM Barnett, EF Bernstein, AD Callow, LR Caplan… – Stroke, 1990 – scholars.uthscsa.edu
The natural history of amaurosis fugax by J Marshall, S Meadows – Brain, 1968 – Citeseer