Amaurosis fugax is the sudden, severe, temporary loss of vision in one eye, with sight returning within seconds or minutes. It often represents an embolic transient ischaemic attack of the retinal artery. This warning symptom of impending major cerebral stroke or permanent blindness must always be urgently investigated.
Case 1. Amaurosis fugax: a warning symptom of impending stroke
A 23-year-old woman presented to her GP complaining of a one-minute episode of sudden-onset complete blindness of her left eye that morning, which had rapidly spontaneously resolved. Her vision was now back to normal.
The patient had been in a car accident four days previously and had no injuries other than a sore neck. This had been diagnosed by an emergency department doctor as ‘whiplash’ and treated with simple analgesics.