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Sudden Painless Loss of Vision

What is Painless Loss of Vision?

There are many different causes of painless loss of vision. When the loss of vision occurs suddenly it is usually as a result of a stroke (when blood flow to the brain is impaired) or Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA).

The cause of sudden painless loss of vision is usually to do with the retina or with the blood vessels that serve it. Either they block, and cut off its blood supply, or they bleed, and block the ability of the retina to ‘see out’ of the pupil.

Total loss of sight in an eye due to the obstruction of an artery will not recover if the sight hasn’t recovered within a few minutes. Loss of vision due to the obstruction of blood flow in a vein may however recover to a large extent.

Transient loss of vision with recovery of sight may occur where the blood flow is restored as in spasm of the blood vessel or when blood flow has been sluggish or temporary disrupted. Amaurosis fugal (Latin fugax meaning fleeting, Greek amaurosis meaning darkening, dark, or obscure) is a term referring to transient loss of vision, usually confined to one eye and often indicating a Temporary/Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or mini-stroke.

Loss of vision due to vascular causes seldom occur in the absence of a known, pre-existing condition such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, chronic glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or venous stasis, although a TIA may be the first indication of a vascular problem.

It is not unusual for an individual to suddenly become aware of poor vision in an eye on covering the ‘good’ eye when the loss of sight has in fact been coming on gradually as can occur when a cataract is forming.

Retinal detachment can also cause sudden loss of vision.

Who it Affects

Sudden visual loss is a common complaint with variable presentations among patients of different ages.

Painless Loss of Vision Symptoms

Some patients describe their symptoms as a gradually descending grey-black curtain or as blurring, fogging, or dimming of vision. Symptoms usually last a few minutes but can persist for hours. Variation in frequency ranges from a single episode to many episodes per day; recurrences may continue for years but more frequently occur over seconds to hours.

Painless Loss of Vision Treatment

Treatment depends on the cause of the vision loss which can be wide ranging.

Painless Loss of Vision Prevention

Smoking is a risk factor. Other factors include hypercholesterolemia and hypertension.

A healthy lifestyle may aid in preventing these conditions. Eating a healthy diet rich in good quality fresh raw fruits and vegetables and regular exercise can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood. Vegetables like spinach (low in calories, high in fibre, and packed with healthy nutrients like potassium, folate, and magnesium — key ingredients for lowering and maintaining blood pressure levels) can reduce hypertension.

To find out more sign up for my eBook where I give more detail on a course of prevention and management that I highly recommend.

Further Information

  1. Acute Vision Loss – http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/eye_disorders/symptoms_of_ophthalmologic_disorders/acute_vision_loss.html

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