Medical Definition of Amaurosis fugax

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Amaurosis fugax: A symptom described as a shade coming down over the eye. A partial or complete loss of sight that is temporary.

This temporary interference with vision is usually related to atherosclerosis in the blood vessels that supply the brain. It can also occur with excessive acceleration, as in flight.

Amaurosis is the Greek word for darkening, dark, or obscure. The ancients used it to refer to dimmed vision, especially if there was nothing they could see that was wrong with the eye itself. Fugax is related to fugitive (fleeing). Amaurosis fugax therefore means a fleeting loss of vision.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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