Amaurosis: complete blindness with no discernible eye change

A transient and abrupt loss of vision or blindness in one eye is referred to as amaurosis fugax in medicine. The word “amaurosis” denotes a partial or complete loss of vision, whereas the word “fugax” suggests anything that is momentary or transitory. Amaurosis fugax is frequently described as a veil or curtain dropping over the eye, or as a sudden onset of darkness that disappears in a matter of minutes.

The retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye that is responsible for vision, often suffers from a blood flow issue as the primary cause of this condition. A minor embolus (blood clot or debris), blood vessel spasm, or a momentary blockage in the blood supply are just a few causes that might cause the blood flow to get interrupted.

Atherosclerosis, or the accumulation of plaque within blood arteries, is the most frequent underlying cause of amaurosis fugax. A momentary loss of vision can result from plaque that restricts or blocks the blood supply to the eye. Inflammation of the blood arteries (vasculitis), abnormal heart rhythms, and transient blood pressure changes are some more potential causes.

It is important to pay attention to amaurosis fugax since it may be a symptom of a higher chance of developing more severe problems, such as a stroke. If you suffer bouts of amaurosis fugax or any other unexpected changes in your eyesight, you must consult a doctor right away to find the root of the problem and get the right treatment.

Causes of Amaurosis

  • A blockage in one of the arteries that supply blood to the retina causes a condition known as retinal artery occlusion. A blood clot or embolus, which may develop as a result of diseases including atherosclerosis, heart disease, or specific blood abnormalities, maybe the reason for it.
  • Disorders of the optic nerve: Amaurosis can be brought on by injury to or inflammation of the optic nerve, which carries visual information from the retina to the brain. Vision loss may be temporary or permanent as a result of ailments such as optic neuritis, optic nerve compression, and optic nerve tumors.
  • Visual abnormalities in certain people—often referred to as a migraine aura—occur before or during a migraine headache. Blind spots or transitory amaurosis are examples of these visual problems.
  • A transient interruption in the blood flow to the brain results in a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also referred to as a mini-stroke. Temporary blindness or amaurosis may result if the blood flow to the brain’s visual centers is hampered.
  • An obstruction in a vein that carries blood away from the retina is known as a retinal vein occlusion. As a result of the retina’s blood flow being hampered, it may cause amaurosis. Retinal vein occlusion risk can be raised by diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and blood clotting disorders.
  • A transient interruption in the blood flow to the brain results in a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also referred to as a mini-stroke. Temporary blindness or amaurosis may result if the blood flow to the brain’s visual centers is hampered.
  • The primary artery delivering blood to the retina becomes closed, resulting in central retinal artery occlusion. It could be caused by inflammation, embolism, or atherosclerosis. Sudden, painless, severe vision loss is a characteristic symptom of central retinal artery blockage.
  • Other causes: Retinal detachment, macular degeneration, certain drugs, eye trauma, and uncommon genetic abnormalities are among the ailments that can result in amaurosis.

Effects of Amaurosis

  • Amaurosis causes a partial or whole loss of vision that may affect one or both eyes. From a brief fading or blurring of vision to total blindness, the severity and extent of visual loss can vary.
  • Daily activities that require vision, such as reading, driving, recognizing people, and navigating an area, can be severely impacted by a person’s amaurosis. This may cause issues with your ability to work, learn, and live independently.
  • Impact on emotions and psychological well-being: Losing one’s vision can be quite upsetting for people. It could make you feel irritated, anxious, depressed, or less independent. Support from medical professionals, family members, and friends may be necessary for adjusting to the changes and dealing with the emotional effects of vision loss.
  • Accident risk: Vision impairment or loss raises the possibility of mishaps and injury. Amaurosis patients may have difficulty navigating their surroundings securely, dodging hazards, and keeping their balance. Mobility training, assistive technology, and adaptive tactics can all reduce these hazards.
  • Amaurosis can have a substantial negative impact on a person’s overall quality of life. To increase independence, it could be necessary to make lifestyle adjustments including picking up new skills and implementing assistive technology. Activities like hobbies and recreational pursuits may also be impacted.
  • Amaurosis can occasionally be a sign of an underlying medical issue, like cardiovascular illness or neurological disorders. It’s crucial to treat and manage these underlying disorders in order to avoid more issues and advance general health.

Symptoms of Amaurosis

  • A momentary or abrupt loss of vision in one or both eyes is a common symptom of amaurosis. This loss of vision can be partial or whole. A partial loss of peripheral vision to total blindness are examples of the range in the severity of a visual loss.
  • The vision that is fuzzy or dimmed: Some people who have amaurosis episodes could feel fuzzy or blurry vision. It may impair either central or peripheral vision, and the level of blurriness can vary.
  • Amaurosis can result in tunnel vision because it can limit the visual field. Only a small core field of vision is left when peripheral vision has been considerably decreased or lost.
  • Flashes of light: Some people claim to have noticed brilliant spots or flashes of light in their visual field either before or during an episode of amaurosis. Photopsias are the term for these observable events.
  • Temporary visual disturbances: Amaurosis episodes are frequently temporary, which means that the vision loss or disturbances only persist for a few minutes to several hours on average. Nevertheless, depending on the underlying reason, the vision loss may occasionally be either extended or permanent.
  • Associated symptoms: Additional symptoms may be present depending on the origin of amaurosis. For instance, people who suffer amaurosis as a result of migraines may also experience a headache, nausea, or sensitivity to light. Additional symptoms particular to underlying illnesses like cardiovascular disease or neurological disorders may be present.

Natural remedies for Amaurosis

  • Eating a balanced diet can give you the nutrients your eyes need. A diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can do this. Include foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, such as leafy greens, carrots, citrus fruits, almonds, and seafood.
  • Foods are high in antioxidants: Antioxidants help guard the eyes against oxidative stress and damage brought on by free radicals. Foods with a high antioxidant content include blueberries, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Fish like salmon and tuna, as well as chia seeds and flaxseeds, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to maintain eye health and lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
  • Bilberry: Bilberries are a type of fruit that includes anthocyanins, strong antioxidants that may be good for your eyes. It can be purchased as a supplement or as bilberry extracts.
  • Ginkgo biloba: This plant is thought to increase blood flow and circulation, which may be helpful for some eye disorders. It is a supplement, however, before beginning any new supplements, speak with a healthcare provider.
  • workouts for the eyes: Eye workouts may assist increase eye muscle flexibility, strength, and focus. Focusing on close-up and distant objects, eye rolls, and blinking drills are a few examples of these activities. For the best eye workouts, seek advice from a qualified eye care practitioner.
  • Using the right eye protection can help you maintain good eye health in the long run by shielding your eyes from damaging UV rays and too much exposure to blue light. When outdoors, wear UV-protective eyewear and think about utilizing blue light filters on electronic devices.
  • Maintaining proper hydration is essential for general health, which includes eye health. To stay well hydrated throughout the day, consume lots of water.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol: These behaviors have been associated with an increased risk of eye problems and vision loss. For optimum eye health, cut back on alcohol consumption and stop smoking.

Treatment options for Amaurosis

  • Treatment for retinal artery or vein obstruction tries to increase blood flow to the injured area and stop additional harm. It might contain drugs that break up blood clots, manage blood pressure, or soothe inflammation. In some circumstances, laser therapy or surgery may be explored.
  • Treatment for optic nerve problems depends on the underlying cause. Medication may be used to treat underlying systemic diseases, lessen the strain on the optic nerve, or reduce inflammation. In some circumstances, such as the decompression of the optic nerve or the removal of a tumor, surgery may be required.
  • Treatment of the underlying headaches is essential to preventing occurrences of amaurosis in migraine sufferers. Changes in lifestyle, stress management, avoiding triggers, and doctor-prescribed drugs may all be necessary.
  • Temporary ischemic attack (TIA): TIAs are serious medical emergencies because they may be an indication of an upcoming stroke. Medication to avoid blood clots, regulate blood pressure, and manage underlying problems like high cholesterol or diabetes may be part of the treatment.
  • Occlusion of the central retinal artery: This condition calls for prompt medical care. Treatment options include ocular massage, decreasing intraocular pressure, or administering clot-dissolving drugs in an effort to restore blood flow to the retina. For additional interventions, referral to a professional might also be required.
  • Underlying systemic problems: Managing and treating underlying systemic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or autoimmune disorders is crucial to stop additional vision loss and complications if amaurosis is brought on by one of these conditions. This could entail taking medications, altering one’s lifestyle, and being closely watched by medical personnel.
  • Underlying systemic problems: Managing and treating underlying systemic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or autoimmune disorders is crucial to stop additional vision loss and complications if amaurosis is brought on by one of these conditions. This could entail taking medications, altering one’s lifestyle, and being closely watched by medical personnel.
Treatment options for Amaurosis

Preventions for Amaurosis

Regular eye exams: Make an appointment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist for regular eye exams. Regular examinations can aid in the early detection of any underlying eye disorders or diseases, enabling prompt intervention and treatment.

Keep up a healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle might help your eyes generally. Consume a diet that is well-balanced and full of fresh produce, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats. Continue to be physically active and keep your weight in check. Steer clear of smoking and excessive alcohol use.

Wear sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection whenever you go outside, even on cloudy days, to shield your eyes from UV radiation. Long-term UV radiation exposure can raise your chance of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases.

Wash your hands frequently to avoid the spread of diseases to your eyes by maintaining good eye hygiene. Because it can spread bacteria and raise the chance of infections, refrain from touching or rubbing your eyes.

Take breaks from using your digital devices: Extended usage of digital screens can strain your eyes and cause eye tiredness. To prevent eye strain, adhere to the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and stare at something 20 feet away.

Maintain optimum lighting and ergonomics: To lessen eye strain, make sure that your house and workstation are well-lit. Your screens’ contrast and brightness should be adjusted to acceptable settings. To reduce neck and eye strain, position your computer monitor so that it is at eye level and has a straight posture.

*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation of your symptoms and appropriate treatment.

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Author Contribution: Reviewed by Dr. Ram Reddy, MD – General Physician, and Rajeshwar Rao, Pharm D.

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