What is the focus of the clinical history to evaluate sudden visual loss?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019
  • Author: Jean Deschênes, MD, FRCSC; Chief Editor: Edsel Ing, MD, MPH, FRCSC  more...
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For any patient with sudden visual loss, the following information should be obtained:

  • Age
  • Timing and duration of visual loss or changes (minutes, days, weeks)
  • Pattern of vision loss (altitudinal, diffuse, constricting visual field)
  • Provoking factors (positional changes)
  • Whether one eye or both eyes affected (monocular vs binocular)
  • Associated symptoms - Photophobia, headache, pain
  • History of previous episodes
  • History of trauma
  • Past ophthalmic history, including previous eye surgery

It is important to ask about comorbid conditions such as atrial fibrillation, thromboembolic disease, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, nicotine use, diabetes mellitus, collagen vascular disease, hematological disorders, cancer, or drug use. [2]

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