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Four common diseases causing sudden blindness or death in the eye emergency department


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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