You are going about your daily business then suddenly you notice the vision in your left eye blacking out gradually. It tunnels in then goes completely black before slowly returning to normal over several minutes.
While there are many and varied causes of sudden temporary vision loss, it’s possible you may have had a “stroke” affecting your eye. The official term for this is called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. If you’ve had a TIA the chances are that no permanent damage has occurred, but it is a warning sign that should not be ignored.
A transient ischemic attack can serve as both a warning and an opportunity – a warning of an impending stroke and an opportunity to take steps to prevent it.
The signs and symptoms of TIA resemble those found early in a stroke and may include sudden onset of:
• Weakness, numbness or paralysis in your face, arm or leg, typically on one side of the body
• Slurred or garbled speech or difficulty understanding others
• Blindness in one or both eyes or double vision
• Dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
What causes a TIA? When a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked for a short period of time, the blood flow to that area of the brain slows or stops. This lack of blood (and oxygen) often leads to temporary symptoms such as slurred speech or blurred/blacked out vision.
Up to 40 percent of all people who experience a TIA will go on to have an actual stroke. In fact, risk for stroke is especially high in the first few days after a TIA.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a stroke, call 9-1-1 right away as this is a true medical emergency. If you are noticing sudden changes in your vision of any type, see one of our optometrists as soon as possible.
-Dr. Michele Naruszewicz