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Dr. JP
Dr. JP, Ophthalmology, Oculoplastic Surgery
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 28
Experience:  Harvard Medical School, Massachussetts Eye and Ear
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My 62 year old mother is having temporary blindness in her

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My 62 year old mother is having temporary blindness in her left eye, described as foggy blackness w/ several tiny holes of clear vision through it. This is the second time within 3 weeks that this has happened. She is certain that they are not floaters. Please help!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. JP replied 6 years ago.



I'd like to help. A few questions first, if you can?


Does the vision seem to come and go? For example does the deacreased blurring of vision last for seconds, minutes, hours, or for days?


Does your mom have history of heart attack, heart disease, heart valve disease, carotid artery disease (this is the arteries in the neck.)?


Any history of stroke?




Dr. John

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you so much for your help! She has since regained her sight both times. The episode today lasted less than an hour. She has recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure and she is taking medication for it. When she took her blood pressure at the time, it was normal.


She has no stroke history or heart disease. She has been diagnosed borderline for type II diabetes, if that has any bearing.

I find it important to note that she stresses that it is not blurred vision but a sudden blindness where she sees polka dots of clear vision, in her left eye both times.

Expert:  Dr. JP replied 6 years ago.



This sounds like she is having TVO, transient visual obscuration, or Amaurosis Fugax. Amaurosis is a transient loss of vision that improves over 30 minutes. This entitiy requires a good eye examination to look for intraocular findings of embolus (this is calcium, fibrin-platelet plaques or cholesterol plaques that can be seen on retinal exam). If they don't see these on exam, they should ask about temple pain, jaw aching to evaluate for giant cell arteritis (this is a inflamatory vascular occlusive disorder).


without have benefit of an examination i'd be thinking about the following diagnoses

1. giant cell arteritis

2. carotid stenosis

3, ocular ischemia

4. basilar artery stenosis

5. heart disease

6. atrial fibrillation



1. eye exam immediately

2. primary care evaluation with detailed heart examination, cardiac echo.


I think the symptoms you mother is having is an emergency and should be taken care of today.


Dr. JP

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Your answer along with a nurses hotline prompted us to move up my mother's cardiologist appt. to today. Upon hearing her heart, Dr. suspects a pinhole sized whole in the heart but will obviously run more tests to rule this out or confirm it. Could this be causing the temporary blindness?
Expert:  Dr. JP replied 6 years ago.

absolutely it could. but i still recommend an eye exam to evaluate the vision, visual field, the retina. this exam along with a cardiac exam will guide future evaluations and works ups


Dr. JP

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