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Four common diseases causing sudden blindness or death in the eye emergency department
  1. Ana Leonor Rei da Cruz Escaleira1,
  2. Dimitrios Kalogeropoulos2,
  3. Chris Kalogeropoulos2,
  4. Soon Wai Ch’Ng3,
  5. Velota C T Sung3,
  6. Ioannis Asproudis2,
  7. Alexandra Papoudou-Bai4,
  8. Konstantinos Malamos2,
  9. Arijit Mitra3
  1. 1 School of Medicine, University of Porto Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, Porto, Portugal
  2. 2 Ophthalmology, University of Ioannina Faculty of Medicine, Ioannina, Greece
  3. 3 Ophthalmology, Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, Birmingham, UK
  4. 4 Pathology, University of Ioannina Faculty of Medicine, Ioannina, Greece
  1. Correspondence to Dimitrios Kalogeropoulos, Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Ioannina, Stavros Niarchos Ave., 45500 Ioannina, Greece; dkalog1990{at}


Neuro-ophthalmological emergency disorders typically present with symptoms of visual loss, diplopia, ocular motility impairment or anisocoria. The ocular manifestations of these disorders are sometimes indicative of a more serious global neurology disease rather than an isolated ocular disease. The aim of this review is to highlight four important neuro-ophthalmological emergency disorders that must not be missed by an ophthalmologist. These include acute painful Horner’s syndrome, painful cranial nerve III palsy, giant cell arteritis and transient ischaemic attack with amaurosis fugax. The delayed diagnosis of these clinical entities puts the patient at risk of blindness or death. Therefore, prompt diagnosis and management of these conditions are essential. This can be acquired from understanding the main signs and symptoms of the disease presentation together with a high index of suspicion while working at a busy eye emergency department.

  • Ophthalmology
  • neuro-ophthalmology
  • accident & emergency medicine
  • radiology & imaging
  • history (see medical history)
  • internal medicine
  • stroke medicine
  • medical retina

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  • Contributors Conceptualization: AM, DK. Data curation: CK, IA, AM. Formal analysis: AM. Funding acquisition:. Investigation: CK, KM, AP-B. Methodology: AM, VS. Project administration: DK, SWC. Resources: CK, AP-B, KM. Software: DK, KM. Supervision: AM, VS. Validation: CK, IA. Visualisation: ALRdCE, DK, SWC. Roles/writing—original draft: ALRdCE, DK, SWC. Writing—review and editing: CK, IA, VS, SWC. Final approval of the version to be published: All author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Ethical approval This study does not involve interventions on humans or experimental studies on animals.