What are the visual signs and symptoms of methanol toxicity?

Updated: Nov 05, 2018
  • Author: Kalyani Korabathina, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Blindness from methanol inhalation was described as early as 1910. Formic acid accumulates within the optic nerve, which results in the classic visual symptoms of flashes of light and blurring.

Patients initially may present with diminished visual acuity, which can progress to scotomata and scintillations. The frank blindness that develops sometimes responds to immediate therapy; however, complete loss of vision is a common sequela.

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