Sudden loss of vision requires careful history and examination to
identify the underlying cause.
This article discusses the various causes of sudden loss of
vision and provides the general practitioner with a guide to
Rapidity of onset, duration and associated symptoms provide
vital clues to the nature of the disease process. Simple
examination techniques such as visual acuity measurement,
confrontational visual field testing, pupil assessment and
fundoscopy are integral to the appropriate assessment,
treatment and referral of patients presenting with sudden loss
The sudden loss of vision is alarming to both the patient and clinician alike. Sudden and transient visual loss or obscuration may simply be a symptom of dry eye, or it may herald the onset of irreversible visual loss or stroke. The key to determining diagnosis is a focused history and thorough examination.
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