Post-traumatic transient cortical blindness

Int Ophthalmol. 1993 Oct;17(5):277-83. doi: 10.1007/BF01007796.


Five patients: three children, one adolescent, and one young adult, examined in an emergency room setting were diagnosed with post-traumatic transient cortical blindness. This syndrome is characterized by transient visual loss, normal pupillary response and normal funduscopic examination following minor head trauma. In each case, vision returned to normal within minutes to hours following injury, leaving no neurological sequelae. Headache, confusion, irritability, anxiety, nausea and vomiting were the most common related symptoms. While the mechanism responsible for the transient blindness is unknown, most authors propose an abnormal vascular response to trauma with resultant transient hypoxia and cerebral dysfunction. The similarity between the symptoms accompanying this syndrome and those seen during a classic migraine attack has led many investigators to suggest a common underlying pathophysiology. The purpose of this report is to highlight the salient clinical features and diagnostic approaches to this syndrome, thereby providing ophthalmologists and emergency room physicians a heightened awareness of this entity and the means to detect it.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blindness / diagnosis
  • Blindness / etiology*
  • Blindness / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Vision, Ocular
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Cortex*