Amaurosis Fugax (AF) is a medical condition that involves temporary vision loss or blindness, which usually lasts for a few seconds to minutes. It is caused by the transient ischemia of the retina or optic nerve. AF is often described as a curtain or shade that moves across the visual field, and it can affect one or both eyes.
AF can be caused by various factors, including embolization from the carotid artery, atherosclerosis, vasculitis, and hypercoagulable states. The most common cause is embolization from the carotid artery, which is caused by the accumulation of fatty deposits or plaque in the carotid artery. These deposits can dislodge and travel through the bloodstream, ultimately blocking the blood supply to the retinal arteries, leading to AF.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of AF include a sudden, painless, and transient loss of vision that can occur in one or both eyes. It is usually described as a gray or black curtain that moves across the visual field. Other symptoms may include headache, dizziness, and confusion.
Investigations for AF include a comprehensive eye examination, which includes visual acuity testing, pupil examination, and a dilated fundus examination. Other tests may include carotid ultrasound, echocardiogram, and blood tests to check for hypercoagulable states.
Treatment for AF depends on the underlying cause. If the cause is embolization from the carotid artery, the treatment may include carotid endarterectomy or angioplasty. Other treatments may include anticoagulation therapy or treatment for vasculitis. It is essential to seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden vision loss or any other symptoms of AF.
Dos and don’ts for patients with AF include the following:
- Seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden vision loss or any other symptoms of AF.
- Manage any underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
- Take any prescribed medications as directed.
- Do not ignore any symptoms of AF.
- Do not smoke or use tobacco products.
- Do not stop taking any prescribed medications without consulting your doctor.