What is transient vision loss (TVL)?

Updated: May 21, 2019
  • Author: Andrew J Tatham, MD, MBA, FRCOphth, FEBO, FRCS(Ed); Chief Editor: Andrew G Lee, MD  more...
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In adults, transient vision loss (TVL) is a frequently encountered complaint that, in most cases, has an identifiable cause. Transient vision loss may be unilateral or bilateral and may last from seconds to hours. Episodes are often ischemic in origin, but other more benign conditions should be considered in the differential diagnoses (eg, dry eye, migraine). Causes of ischemic transient vision loss include giant cell arteritis, cerebrovascular ischemia, and retinal arteriolar emboli. Some authors refer to ischemic transient vision loss as amaurosis fugax syndrome, so transient vision loss can be a symptom of a serious vision or life-threatening condition, requiring urgent investigation and treatment, or it may have a more benign origin (eg, migraine, dry eye).

Transient vision loss in children is less common than in adults and is more likely to have a benign origin.

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