Transient Monocular Vision Loss

Transient monocular vision loss (TMVL) involves decreased vision lasting seconds to minutes in one eye.  If a patient presents with this symptom, the eye doctor will perform a thorough eye exam and consider ordering the following tests to discover the possible cause of TMVL:

  • ultrasound of the neck arteries to check for blockages
  • MRA or CTA of the head and neck, which are imaging studies looking for blockages in the arterial system of the head and neck
  • fluorescein angiography, which involves placing dye in the venous system and photographing the dye as it travels in the back of the eye
  • blood studies like ESR, CRP, and CBC to evaluate the possibility of inflammation of the arteries

If the above tests do not yield a definitive answer and/or the patient is younger than 40 years old, the eye doctor may recommend the following further studies:

  • ultrasound of the heart, either through the rib cage or through the esophagus, to evaluate the heart and its valves
  • blood studies to evaluate the coagulation status of the blood, such as antiphospholipid antibodies, homocysteine levels, sickle cell disease, prothrombin mutation 20210, and Factor V Leiden

For most patients, the following steps will help decrease the likelihood of TMVL:

  • Follow a healthy, low-fat diet
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks a day
  • Exercise 30 minutes a day if you are not overweight and 60 – 90 minutes a day if you are overweight
  • Quit smoking
  • Follow your doctor’s treatment plans if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and/or heart disease