Embolic and nonembolic transient monocular visual field loss: a clinicopathologic review

Surv Ophthalmol. 2013 Jan-Feb;58(1):42-62. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2012.02.002.


Transient monocular blindness and amaurosis fugax are umbrella terms describing a range of patterns of transient monocular visual field loss (TMVL). The incidence rises from ≈1.5/100,000 in the third decade of life to ≈32/100,000 in the seventh decade of life. We review the vascular supply of the retina that provides an anatomical basis for the types of TMVL and discuss the importance of collaterals between the external and internal carotid artery territories and related blood flow phenomena. Next, we address the semiology of TMVL, focusing on onset, pattern, trigger factors, duration, recovery, frequency-associated features such as headaches, and on tests that help with the important differential between embolic and non-embolic etiologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amaurosis Fugax / etiology*
  • Amaurosis Fugax / pathology
  • Carotid Artery, External / pathology
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / pathology
  • Carotid Stenosis / etiology
  • Embolism / complications*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / etiology
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / etiology*
  • Vision Disorders / pathology
  • Visual Fields*